The EU will not accept any compromise on the interests of its internal market, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator said on Friday.
“We won’t let a third country to set the conditions of access for our own market of goods, services and data”, Michel Barnier said.
He was evaluating the latest round of Brexit negotiations that took place this week.
The political phase of Brexit ended on Jan. 31 with the UK leaving the bloc after 47 years of membership. But partners need to agree on the terms of future economic cooperation till Dec. 31.
According to Barnier, the British negotiators don’t even understand the basic consequences of the UK leaving the EU.
“You can’t pick the conditions without taking the obligations”, the negotiator said, referring to the fact that the UK can’t benefit from the same treatment like EU member states do.
The partners have failed to find progress on the two most crucial aspects of cooperation, namely trade and fisheries.
The EU is open for a free trade agreement that allows zero tariffs and quotas. But in return, the bloc insists on avoiding unfair trade distortions and unjustified competition advantage.
The EU is also very committed to implementing climate protection in its trade policy, which is a priority for the bloc. In addition, the union asks the UK to uphold high standards on social affairs and state aid regulation, from which the British want to diverge after Brexit.
The bloc also insists on finding an agreement on fisheries, which provides reciprocal access to market and waters, and caps the fishing with quotas.
The EU aims at protecting the interests of its 450 million consumers and citizens, the EU chief negotiator explained, admitting that he is “not confident on finding an agreement by the end of the year.”
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