Michel Barnier Speech 09.01.18, Brussels

From the European Commission Press Release Database, Michel Barnier’s speech at a Trends and Trends-Tendances event.

M. Barnier talks about historical trade between UK and Belgium, and points out that 7% of Belgian exports go to UK. He reminds that 61% of Belgian trade is with the EU member states and that 30 000 Belgian nationals live in the UK and 27 000 British citizens live in Belgium.

Michel Barnier says that the EU must wait for the UK to answer three questions.

  1. Does the UK want an orderly or disorderly Brexit ?
  2. What kind of future relationship does the UK want with the European Union ?
  3. Does the UK want to stay close to the European regulatory model or distance itself from it ?

Michel Barnier points out that it is the UK (and the red lines) which determines the future relationship. UK cannot withdraw from Single Market, Customs Union and CJEU and get anything other than a free trade agreement.

There can be some regulatory agreement and equivalence for financial services, but no passporting outside the Single Market. The Four Freedoms must remain intact. Without the UK the EU would still be a market of 440 million people with 22 million businesses.

He talks about vigilance from President Juncker and Mariane Thyssen, to ensure that without common ground on fair competition, state aid, and guarantees on tax dumping and social and environmental standards that the “ambitious partnership” won’t happen.

Barnier says it’s likely that agreements between EU and UK will be mixed agreements, needing ratification by the European Parliament, all 27 member state parliaments and some regional parliaments also.

He points out that the UK asked for a transition period from withdrawal on 29 March 2019 and that the European Commission has proposed a 21 month period to 31 December 2020.

Barnier says that the reality is that the transition period has already started, as businesses examine their trading relationships to the UK, pointing out that trading with a Third Nation country can never be frictionless.

He finishes by talking about future EU plans.

” It is time for a new resolve and this new resolve is more important than Brexit “

Clear, unambiguous and completely devoid of the posturing which British politicians bandy about.

European Commission Press Release Database 09.01.18

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