The President of the European Council, Charles Michel has said the EU is ready for a no deal in trade talks with the UK.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel has said that the EU is ready for a no deal in trade talks with the UK.
In his speech, the President spoke of the “three extremely difficult issues: the level playing field, governance, and fisheries.”
Firstly, he said that the European Council is united behind the mandate set-out at the start of negotiations.
Secondly, the UK’s Internal Market Bill was a clear violation of the Withdrawal Agreement, signed less than a year ago by British PM, Boris Johnson and talked about the ‘level-playing field’.
And thirdly, on the issue of fisheries he said “Stopping access to UK waters would cause extraordinary damage to our fishing fleets.”
The President said that the EU has respected the UK’s sovereign decision in 2016 to leave the Union and still respects UK’s position today. The EU is looking for a fair and balanced agreement, but if they do not get it they are prepared for a no deal.
President Charles Michel’s speech is below:
“Brexit means Brexit, like Teresa May said. But Brexit also means making choices about our future relationship. We want a deal, but not at any cost.
The European Council was extremely clear. We are 100% united. And we expressed our unwavering support to our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. And we reconfirmed all the principles of his mandate.
In fact, we face three extremely difficult issues: the level playing field, governance, and fisheries. And we need to find solutions in line with our principles.
On the ‘level-playing field’, it’s a matter of the integrity of the Single Market. A question of fair competition. Our UK friends say they want to maintain the highest standards. If that’s the case, why don’t they commit to them? We don’t need words. We need guarantees.
The same goes for governance. The Internal Market Bill, which clearly violates the Withdrawal Agreement, reminds us just how important this is.
What’s the point of negotiating, signing and ratifying an international agreement, if it’s not implemented in full? In case of violation of the agreement, we need to be able to bring the dispute to binding independent arbitration. And get a swift resolution.
Lastly, on fisheries. Brexit was not our decision. And it was not our fishermen’s decision. Stopping access to UK waters would cause extraordinary damage to our fishing fleets. Yes, we want to keep access to UK waters for our fishermen, exactly like the UK wants to keep access to our huge and diversified markets for its companies.
In June 2016, the United Kingdom took a democratic decision to leave the European Union. We respected this sovereign decision in 2016. And we respect UK sovereignty now.
Our UK friends say they want an ambitious and close relationship. We welcome this, because we want the same. But the UK wants access to our Single Market, while at the same time, being able to diverge from our standards and regulations, when it suits them. On ne peut pas avoir le beurre, l’argent du beurre, et le sourire de la cremiere. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
In fact, the United Kingdom now has an important choice to make about its own future. It’s not about choosing a negotiating tactic. It’s about choosing the model of society and the model of economy for their own future.
Do our British friends want to regulate state aid? And do they want to maintain high standards in health, food security , and climate, in close relationship with Europe? If so, why not commit to them in our future agreement? We are determined to ensure that all businesses — British, Chinese, European, or from anywhere, follow the same principles when operating in our market. It’s only fair.
Time is very short. We stand ready to negotiate 24/7 on all subjects, based on legal texts. So the UK has a big decision to make. It’s their free and sovereign choice. And we will always respect them, whatever choice they make.
But their sovereign answer will determine their level of access to our internal market. This is just common sense. We want a deal which is fair and balanced. But we are also ready in case of “no deal”.