Tue | Apr 7, 2020

UK to EU: we won’t accept supervision in post-Brexit deal

Published:Tuesday | February 18, 2020 | 12:22 AM
FILE - In this January 31, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Union flag is removed from outside of the European Parliament in Brussels. The bloc has been preoccupied for almost four years with Brexit, but now that Britain has left the bloc, the EU hopes to find more time to fix its own problems.
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019 file photo, a construction worker stands in front of a door with the EU stars at EU headquarters in Brussels. The Brexit process shook the EU foundations and laid bare the need for much-delayed renovations, but tthe question now is where to start the revamp and who is going to foot the bill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
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BRUSSELS (AP):

Britain’s chief negotiator on Monday set out a clashing course in trade talks with the European Union, saying the 27-nation bloc has totally missed the point of Brexit if it thinks it will retain some supervision over United Kingdom (UK) actions.

The EU has said it wants the best possible trade relationship with the UK, but only if there is a level playing field for businesses on anything from state subsidies to environmental standards, and is insisting on clear checks to enforce it.

UK negotiator David Frost said, according to extracts from the released speech, that “to think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing”.

In a major speech at the ULB Brussels university, he said that rejecting any EU meddling on rules and regulations “is the point of the whole project” of leaving the bloc after 47 years.

And he further stressed that there was no way that Britain would seek a longer transition period than 11 months to clinch a deal, a time span considered next to impossible for a trade agreement between such commercial juggernauts.

On January 1, 2021, he said, “we recover our political and economic independence in full – why would we want to postpone it?”

With such comments, Frost gave indications that Britain might be willing to walk away without an agreement rather than compromise on key issues.

Rough times ahead

The European Union also made it clear that rough times lay ahead when French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said over the weekend that “we’ll be seriously at each other’s throats” during the negotiations.

The EU raised the ire of the UK by making a clear link between close commercial relations and the demand to adhere to EU rules. Frost made it clear that setting its own rules clearly trumps a cozy deal with the EU.

“It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has,” Frost said.

The EU has insisted that it has no problems with that, but that the further removed those laws and rules are, the less advantageous the trade deal. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier was equally emphatic that the EU’s 27 remaining nations wouldn’t agree to any British trade deal just to avoid a costly, chaotic “no-deal” at the start of 2021.

The negotiations are to start at the beginning of next month.