Barnier raises question over the UK’s White Paper

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gives a press conference at the end of a General Affairs Council meeting at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, 20 July 2018.

Barnier raises question over the UK’s White Paper


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It has been a full week of negotiations in Brussels and Britain’s new Brexit blueprint has not provided all the answers the EU was looking for.

According to what the EU’s chief negotiator on the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc, Michel Barnier, told journalists after he briefed the EU-27 EU foreign affairs ministers, key questions about future economic ties with the EU remain.

“Regarding the future economic partnership, the white paper (blueprint) raises three sets of questions,” Barnier told journalists at a press conference in Brussels after his meeting with the bloc’s ministers. “As I told the ministers, there are several elements in this white paper that open the way to a constructive discussion regarding the political declaration on our future relationship”, Barnier said.

According to the bloc’s negotiating chief and what he has taken from his first meeting with his new UK counterpart after, Dominic Raab, revealed that Britain shared the EU’s desire for an ambitious trading relationship and a security partnership.

Barnier, however, wonders whether the UK’s proposals are workable and if they would create more red tape.  “I would simply say that Brexit cannot be and will not be a justification for creating more bureaucracy,” he said.

Barnier also said he would ask the British government whether the blueprint met the EU’s guidelines, including on the movement of goods, capital, people, and technology, and if the draft supported the integrity of the EU single market and the autonomy of European decision-making.

Only 13 weeks until EU leaders meet for a summit in October. By then, the EU and the UK should have finalised a withdrawal agreement, despite serious outstanding issues that include a formula for the border between Ireland and the UK once Britain leaves the bloc.

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