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London and Brussels clash over post-Brexit

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Three days have passed since Brexit and the post-war battle started between London and Brussels on Monday, Boris Johnson rejecting the alignment claimed by Brussels on EU rules as the price to be paid for a free trade agreement “very ambitious,” according to AFP.

From a distance, the tone hardened between the British Prime Minister and the European negotiator Michel Barnier. They each presented their objectives and their red lines, for the new era which opened Friday with the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Both parties have an 11-month transition period to negotiate an agreement. Otherwise, their exchanges could be very disrupted. This is already worrying the financial markets where the tussle brought the pound down on Monday.

Michel Barnier dangled a “very ambitious” trade agreement to eliminate all customs duties and all quotas on goods traded with the continent, which are more advantageous conditions than those offered to other EU partners.

In return for this unusual opening, Brussels refuses to see the emergence of a deregulated economy on its doorstep, which would benefit from “unfair competitive advantages”, warned the Frenchman. “We will not be naive,” he said.

“The closer the United Kingdom wants to be (to European rules), the easier the access to the single market (…) it is a question of fairness”, added the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The British Prime Minister wanted to be reassuring: his country does not plan to make “unfair competition” to the EU, nor a “race to the bottom” on standards. While hammering out its position of principle: the United Kingdom does not have to align itself with EU rules “on competition, subsidies, social protection, the environment” in order to hope for a free agreement. exchange.

“Are we going to prevent Italian cars or German wine from entering this country without customs duties due to the lack of alignment of the EU with our British rules on plastic coffee beans or on maternity leave? (…) Of course not, “he said.

Comparing his country to Clark Kent ready to become the Superman of free trade in the face of protectionists who are gaining ground, the craftsman of Brexit once again expressed the world trade ambitions of his government by recalling that he intended to negotiate simultaneously with several countries outside the EU, from the United States to New Zealand.

Its chief diplomat Dominic Raab will travel in the next two weeks to Australia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia to discuss trade.

“The most important thing for 2020 is that after leaving the EU at the start of the year, we will have regained full economic and political independence by the end,” Raab told MEPs. “This is when the transition period will end and it will not be extended.”

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