The negotiations between the UK and the EU have seen numerous stumbling blocks as the deadline for a deal looms just around the corner. The Internal Market Bill was passed by Parliament yesterday, but not without days of controversy. It addresses the Northern Ireland Protocol – an element of the withdrawal agreement designed to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland. The bill seeks to give powers to UK ministers so they can modify or “disapply” rules relating to the movement of goods – an act Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis claimed would break international law.
It has infuriated the EU, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to jump hurdles laid by the withdrawal agreement – which the Conservatives passed through Parliament this year.
Brexit talks have also been stalled by both parties’ red lines on fisheries and regulation.
Mr Bariner told the UK if it wanted access to European markets, the EU must also be granted access to UK fishing ground.
The talks erupted earlier this month when the UK accused the EU of misrepresenting its position.
Mr Barnier said the Government was trying to gain an unfair competitive advantage over EU businesses in sectors such as cars, road haulage, agriculture and manufacturing by undercutting the bloc’s standards.
This resulted in a furious response.
A UK source hit back, saying: “Barnier’s speech is a deliberate and misleading caricature of our proposals aimed at deflecting scrutiny from the EU’s own positions which are wholly unrealistic and unprecedented.
“We have been consistently clear that we are seeking a relationship that respects our sovereignty and which has a free trade agreement at its core, similar to those the EU has already agreed with like minded countries.”
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One EU diplomat said this week: “We know our position is totally unrealistic, but so is the British one.
“We need to get to the point where there’s a more mature dialogue. It’s not that complicated.”
Another added: “The EU will have to soften its position. We should not just limit ourselves to the interests of a few states.”
A British official said: “We’ve been clear we won’t accept any proposals which compromise UK sovereignty over our fishing waters.
“In order to make progress, the EU must accept our position as an independent coastal state and any agreement on quotas must reflect that reality.
“We remain committed to working hard to reach an agreement by the middle of October.”