As usual, the EU seem to want to talk about everything except trade
British Bulldog is back in Brussels for Brexit talks with Barnier on Monday
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020
“Intensified negotiation process” involves just four hours of trade talks
This week we saw both sides in the UK-EU trade talks in typically combative mood. Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the EU, gave a speech at the europhile ‘European Policy Centre’ in Brussels, and David Frost, Chief Negotiator for the UK, gave a robust rebuttal in a statement issued from London on Twitter.
Brexit scare stories abound
Last week there were stories in the British press and rumours thatr the Government was about to cave in to EU demands. Below we present the latest positions from each side, but first we outline some of the latest facts about the talks.
UK-EU trade negotiations resume on Monday with two hours discussing “the level playing field”, followed by two hours on “governance”. The latter relates to the EU’s insistence on having the EU’s own court, the ECJ, as sole arbiter of the trade deal - something which has never happened anywhere else in the world.
In the whole of next week, only two 2-hour sessions will take place specifically on trade issues. As negotiations resume from Monday next week there will be :-
- Two hours on fisheries
- Two hours on trade in goods
- Two hours on trade in services
Michel Barnier’s speech in Brussels
Readers may gain a flavour of Michel Barnier’s speech on Wednesday from the following excerpts:
“We have the Brexiteers and a good part of the Tory party keeping a very hard line on full sovereignty for the UK [...] and no concessions even if it means no deal.”
“Even if you were to maintain tariffs on some goods [...]the EU will still demand strong level playing field guarantees.”
Readers wishing to watch Monsieur Barnier in full may do so below.
Who was Monsieur Barnier speaking to?
Michel Barnier was talking to an organisation which has given itself the rather grandiose title of "the European Policy Centre" (EPC). It refers to itself as a "think-tank" and it is based in Brussels. Where else?
And who is the President of the EPC? None other than Herman Van Rompuy, former President of the EU Council. This is the man whom Nigel Farage once famously referred to as having "the appearance of a damp rag and the charisma of a low-grade bank clerk". Below we show the video of the speech which Mr Farage gave to the EU Parliament at the time.
Brexit Bulldog Frost’s clear rebuttal to Barnier and to media stories
The day after Monsieur Barnier’s speech in Brussels, the UK’s Chief Negotiator David Frost gave his riposte using Twitter. We are publishing his short statement in full below because unlike Michel Barnier, Mr Frost doesn’t use 3000 words when 200 will suffice.
Statement by David Frost, London, Thur, 25 Jun 2020
“The next round of talks with the EU begins on Monday 29 June. This is the start of the intensified process. We have published the agenda.
“For the first time since March we will meet face to face, in Brussels. We look forward to welcoming the EU team to London the week after.
“These meetings will be smaller and focused on seeing whether we can begin to make genuine and rapid progress towards an agreement. We will go to Brussels in good faith to engage with the EU’s concerns.
“This needs to be a real negotiation and some of the EU’s unrealistic positions will have to change if we are to move forward. We have noted carefully what the EU has said in recent days on this subject and look forward to discussing it.
“UK sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion. Equally we do not seek anything which would undermine the integrity of the EU’s single market.
“Finally, I want to be clear that the Government will not agree to ideas like the one currently circulating giving the EU a new right to retaliate with tariffs if we chose to make laws suiting our interests. We could not leave ourselves open to such unforeseeable economic risk.”
- David Frost, Chief Negotiator of the UK’s ‘Task Force Europe’, Thur, Jun 25 2020
The first thing to say is that David Frost’s statement was clear and unambiguous, yet again. “UK sovereignty, over our laws, our courts, or our fishing waters, is of course not up for discussion.” Well said, that man.
There remains, of course, a general nervousness amongst all who voted to leave the European Union that Boris Johnson is minded to compromise in some way to achieve something he can call a ‘trade deal’. We share that nervousness, based on years of seeing the UK Government betray the decision of the British people on 23 June 2016.
That said, we are encouraged by some of these very clear statements from David Frost. Can anyone imagine such words coming out of the mouth of Theresa May or her arch-Remainer side-kick Olly Robbins, before Boris Johnson took over?
What are the odds of a proper trade deal?
Brexit Facts4EU.Org stands by our assertion from our beginnings in 2015. The EU will not do a normal and reasonable trade deal with the UK because for them this is about political ideology. They desire one thing: the subsuming of all individual nations of Europe into one superstate, governed from Brussels by unaccountable people in grey suits.
Brexit was a slap in the face for these eurocrats – and it came from their second-largest member, the United Kingdom. In response, the EU apparatchiks circled the wagons and made it very clear how they were going to approach talks with the UK.
“This will not be an amicable divorce,” declared EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker within hours of the announcement of the result on 24 June 2016. He meant it. The EU intended to punish the people of the United Kingdom in any way they could – and they still intend to do so.
Isn’t it time to come clean?
One might have thought that if a trade deal were at all likely, the teams on each side would be talking to each other a great deal next week. Instead we get two hours on goods trade and two hours on services trade. Hardly very impressive, nor anything which could really be described as “intensified”. Perhaps David Frost approved the agenda because he knew there was little point in wasting more time on areas where the EU is clearly never going to behave normally.
If this carries on, there seems little point in pretending. The Government could simply announce to the world that there is no prospect whatsoever of the EU behaving reasonably. The EU is demanding continued jurisdiction over the UK. It demands the UK’s waters, and it demands effective control over the UK’s policies on industry, taxation, state aid, social laws, and the environment.
Boris Johnson could score major brownie points with the British public – and with large parts of the EU populace come to that - if he simply went on television at the end of next week and said:
“These unelected Eurocrats are quite extraordinary. It’s impossible to negotiate with them, as so many other nations have found. Blow this for a game of soldiers. We’re off.
“Hello World, Great Britain is Back!”
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[ Sources: European Policy Centre | David Frost Twitter ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 27 June 2020
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