EU chief Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt has warned it would be a “hell of a job” to secure a successful outcome in negotiations with the UK, hammering his counterparts for their approach to future relationship discussions.
During a joint press conference with London Mayor Sadiq Khan in Brussels on Tuesday, Verhofstadt appeared to take a swipe at recent comments made by David Frost – the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator.
In a speech in the Belgian capital on Monday, Frost had insisted that Britain would not sign up to aligning with EU rules, regulations or any supervisory role with the European Court of Justice.
The hardline tone taken by Frost ostensibly riled Verhofstadt, who was adamant that the UK and EU do not diverge too heavily because in reality their markets were close “physically, geographically.” He warned that if the UK continues with this approach in the post-Brexit negotiations, then it would be a “hell of a job” to reach a successful outcome by the end-of-December deadline.
It’s not a good thing that we continue to discuss the future relationship as if the UK and Europe are living on two different planets.
Brussels is pushing for “dynamic alignment” on state aid and competition rules, as well as non-regression on environmental, social and workers’ standards, but the UK is so far resisting such demands, preferring a Canada-style agreement.
The EU’s current agreement with Canada is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The deal does away with most taxes on imports, but tariffs remain on poultry/eggs and meat. There is no dynamic alignment on standards, only “cooperation” between the two countries.
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