European Union 'surprised' at Boris Johnson's Brexit stance

Andrew Cummings
February 12, 2020

However, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU lawmakers that Britain should be "under no illusion" on financial services as there would be "no general, global, permanent equivalence" with Britain. The UK may well care for near-friction-less trade with the European Union while enjoying the freedom to ink trade deals with the rest of the world.

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer that Brits need to "rediscover" their optimism.

The Canada deal eliminates most, but not all, tariffs and quotas and "we still have our standards that have to be respected", she said. It plans to negotiate a free trade deal to govern its future relationship with the bloc, which taken as a whole is its largest trading partner, by the end of the year.

The President of the European Commission has taken a swipe at Boris Johnson for his talk about an "Australian-style" Brexit.

Ms von der Leyen added: "Honestly, I was a little bit surprised to hear the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speak about the Australian model". "But of course this requires corresponding guarantees on fair competiton and social, environmental and consumer standards". "We can decide to settle for less, but I personally believe we should be more ambitious".

Concerned industry representatives say the technology roll-out could sound the death knell for traditional fishing, just as Britain prepares to cut itself from the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Speaking after Mr Barnier on Tuesday, Mr Javid said the two sides were working closely to reach an agreement.

Instead, the EU will offer "equivalence", which means European regulators will dictate the standards that UK-based finance firms must uphold. "But there will be differences, not least because as a global financial centre the United Kingdom needs to keep pace with and drive worldwide standards".

The document Mr Javid held suggested potential "landing zones" could include selective equivalence, joint declarations on co-operation, and "extensive" memorandums of understanding - at the cost of not including a chapter on financial services in the post-Brexit free trade agreement.

It comes after senior British minister Michael Gove said on Monday that goods coming to Britain from the European Union will face import controls from January 1.

The British Retail Consortium said the government would have to move fast to get infrastructure in place for 2021, warning that without adequate preparations the availability of goods on shelves would be disrupted, with fresh fruit and vegetables especially vulnerable.

He said: "Come what may, on January 1 we will be imposing checks on all products entering the single market, just as we do to every other third country in the world".

"The opening of our markets, access to data and equivalence for financial services will be proportional to the commitments made to respect a true level playing field, regulatory coherence, protection of citizens and financial stability", Barnier said.

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