Brexit bombshell: EU’ misjudged talks’ as UK warned ‘this may get messy’ | UK | News (Reports)


The search for a trade deal between the EU and UK is still ongoing as crunch talks continue this week. With a deal almost done, the three key issues that have held up an agreement for months are still on the table as the deadline draws nearer. EU negotiator Michel Barnier wants to ensure fishermen in Europe are not cut off from British fishing grounds, and has also demanded that the UK accept a level playing field on trade if the UK is to keep access to European markets.

After months of deadlock, Brussels has been accused of “misjudging” the task at hand and warned that relations with the UK could suffer post-Brexit.

Andrew Neil asked Wolfgang Munchau of EuroIntelligence why a trade deal couldn’t have been struck more easily.

The journalist told SpectatorTV this month: “Both sides are to blame. The EU misjudged the Brexit process from the start and is still misjudging it now.

“There was too much hope that the UK would extend the deadline, they didn’t believe Johnson when he said he would not extend, they didn’t expect to be in this position now where Johnson hasn’t folded.

“The assumption has been in Brussels that the UK needs a deal more urgently than the EU, and for that reason the UK has an interest in conceding.”

Mr Munchau added that while Mr Barnier and co have made some “unreasonable” demands, a deal should be done easily.

However, he also warned that a fresh row between the UK and France could threaten talks at the final stage.

He continued: “The EU made some unreasonable demands in the beginning like demanding that the ECJ continues to play a role, asking the UK to align its regulatory policies to the EU.

“On competition policy I have sympathy with the EU point that if you have a large trade deal, that you want to have a broad consensus on state aid.

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“The danger now is….not the trade negotiators, they are doing a good job.

“The difficulty they have is to ensure when they come up with this trade agreement, Mr Johnson and Emmanuel Macron will do the right thing and not start to extend this and make another unreasonable demand.”

Mr Munchau added that if last-minute disagreements rear their head, the Brexit process could become a “very messy procedure”.

Meanwhile, The Spectator’s James Forsyth warned of how no deal could “poison” the relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe.

He said: “Both sides are beginning to consider the enormity of what a no deal could mean.

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“I struggle to see how a no deal Brexit does not poison UK-EU relations for a decade, bleeding over into foreign policy on things such as Russia.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told last month that Mr Barnier has “struggled” in talks with UK negotiator Mr Frost.

The Brexiteer said: “Barnier is an interesting character. But he has struggled with David Frost.

“He clearly preferred negotiating with Olly Robbins and Theresa May’s team, and he has struggled with the consistency of Frost.

“He has found these negotiations far more difficult. Ultimately Barnier will be feeding back to his EU allies. Ultimately his superiors will decide whether they want a free trade agreement.”


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