Speaking at a press conference on Monday the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, was in an ebullient mood after throwing down the gauntlet to his British counterparts, saying the UK was in no position to dictate trade deals and would have to abide by European regulations as London withdraws from the EU.
Speaking shortly after the EU-27 agreed to the terms for the next round of Brexit negotiations, the EU-27 said it would bar Britain from concluding international trade deals during the transition period, which is now set to last until the end of 2020 after EU ministers agreed to grant the UK additional time to settle other separate issues.
“The EU position is very clear: the transition will last for 21 months, until December 31, 2020. The whole EU acquis will continue to apply to the UK, as well as the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice,” said Barnier, underlining that the bloc will not allow Britain to cherry pick on EU obligations and law. “As part of the transition, the UK will remain bound by the obligations stemming from all existing EU international agreements, including trade and aviation.”
London will have to accept any legal changes the EU decides under this 21-month transition period following its exit from the bloc. Barnier reiterated that the Britain that there was still work to be done on several outstanding issues and warned the UK will no longer participate in the EU decision-making process.
“We say that all of the acquis, the economic status quo, and European policies, will be maintained between March 30, 2019 – December 31, 2020. During that period these decisions will apply and the UK must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset,” said Barnier, whose assertive and upbeat tone matched the bloc’s newfound confidence heading into the next round of Brexit negotiations.