The European Union and Britain started arugment over a post-Brexit trade deal on February 3, setting out very different visions of a future relationship that could result in the most distant of ties, and even the departue without a deal.
Boris Johnson has set out his vision for a trade deal with the EU, saying there is “no need” for the UK to follow Brussels’ rules, underlining that in many areas British standards are higher and practices more advanced than the ones on the continent.
The PM expressed his clear preference for a Canada-style free trade deal, saying the UK would return to the Withdrawal Agreement if such a deal was not reached.
Almost three days since Britain officially left the EU, both sides presented their aims, with the question of whether the UK will sign up to EU rules to ensure frictionless trade shaping up to be the defining argument of the negotiations.
“We have often been told that we must choose between full access to the EU market, along with accepting its rules and courts on the Norway model, or an ambitious free trade agreement, which opens up markets and avoids the full panoply of EU regulation, on the example of Canada“, the Boris Johnson said in his speech in Greenwich, London.
“We have made our choice – we want a free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s but in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
“The choice is emphatically not ‘deal or no deal’. The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s – or more like Australia’s. In either case, I have no doubt that Britain will prosper mightily.”
PM rejected the requirement for the UK to adopt Brussels-made rules “on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules”.
“In any negotiations, both sides will do what is best for them.
The EU will protect the interests of our citizens and of the European companies.
We know time is short and the road is long, so we kick off the negotiations today” the EU top executive Ursula von der Leyen said, indicating to the approach of the bloc.