Brexit: Britain and European Union 'will rip each other apart' in trade talks

Marco Green
February 17, 2020

Ahead of tough trade negotiations expected to begin in March, Mr Frost, pictured below, said the freedom to diverge from European Union rules and regulations was the "point of the whole project" of Brexit and "central" to Mr Johnson's vision for the country's future.

"To think that we might accept European Union supervision on so called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing".

"It isn't a simple negotiating position which might move under pressure - it is the point of the whole project".

The EU has repeatedly warned Britain can not expect to enjoy continued "high quality" market access if it insists on diverging from EU social and environmental standards.

The French government has warned London to prepare for a bitter, bloody battle in the Brexit trade talks with the EU. This means in practice, it is unlikely Britain will actually become an independent nation until the end of December 2020, although there is a mechanism to extend the period even further.

The speech comes after France warned the two sides would "rip each other apart" in trade talks ahead of the UK's scheduled exit from the transition period at the end of this year.

Speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference, he made clear that Brussels will defend its interests when negotiations begin next month.

The country's foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian predicted the two sides would "rip each other apart" as they strove for advantage in the talks.

The EU wants the United Kingdom to sign up to strict rules on fair and open competition - known as level-playing-field guarantees - so if British companies are given tariff-free access to the EU market, they can not undercut their rivals.

The bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said the EU's top priorities are fishing, security and maintaining fair trading conditions for European companies.

"Let's hope the talks are done as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of issues and some hard points to deal with", said Le Drian, who is from the important French fishing region of Brittany.

A Government spokesman said: 'We want a relationship based on friendly co-operation between sovereign equals, one centred on free trade and inspired by our shared history and values'.

France and several other countries want to keep fishing in British waters, while London wants full autonomy and limited access for European fishermen.

Addressing students and academics at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Mr Frost is expected to say: "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".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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