EU Chief Negotiator Says 'Consequences' for Brexit, No 'Frictionless Trade'


"Fundamentally we want to make sure there is a tariff-free trade access to the European market because it is crucial".

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned United Kingdom ministers and businesses that "frictionless trade" with the EU after Britain leaves is "not possible".

Michel Barnier took a tough position on the Brexit negotiations Thursday, warning there will be "negative" consequences no matter what.

The EU's Chief Brexit negotiator addressed the European Economic and Social Committee today (6 July).

Talking about the UK's future trade relations with the EU, he insisted that "a trading relationship with a country that does not belong to the European Union obviously involves friction". "But it is not clear whether they have been fully understood across the channel", he added.

A Downing Street spokesman said the UK's position was that it would secure "the most frictionless possible trade" between the United Kingdom and the European Union, adding that London's position is clear when asked if Ms May understood the EU's stance.

"In practice, "no deal" would worsen the "lose-lose" situation which is bound to result from Brexit, " said Barnier. He goes on to try to kill off the chatter about setting up "a customs union" (a bespoke arrangement like Turkey has with the EU) emphasising that such a set-up keeps customs controls and other checks in place as is far from the "frictionless" trade talked about by United Kingdom ministers.

He went on: "Let me be clear, these consequences are the direct result of the choices made by the United Kingdom, not by the EU. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27, and businesses should assess with lucidity the negative consequences of the United Kingdom choice on trade and investment and prepare to manage that".

He argued, "In my eyes, there would be no reasonable justification for the "no deal" scenario.there is no reason to further aggravate the consequences of Brexit". Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27.

The idea of a trading relationship with "friction" could impact the United Kingdom most directly on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which would become a hard border were the United Kingdom to not be in a customs union, causing problems for both trade and peace in Ireland.

He went on, "In reality the "no deal" scenario would aggravate the lose/lose situation, which is a necessary outcome of Brexit".

Leaving these two agreements are a central part of the Brexit negotiations laid out by Prime Minister Thersea May.

Mr Barnier said time was tight to reach a deal by the end of March 2019 deadline under Article 50, remarking that "time flies".



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