It can not be guaranteed that it is possible to agree on a possible transitional period following the planned Union exit from the United Kingdom, if the current major disagreements remain, said Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Brexit chief negotiator in Brussels on Friday.
“The transitional period is not guaranteed if it is not possible to resolve these disputes,” Barnier said in a press conference following a new round of negotiations on the British exit conditions. He stressed at the same time that this was not a threat, just a warning.
He explained that the British mostly objected to the fact that they were not allowed to participate in EU decision-making during the 21 months concerned, while keeping up to the newly adopted rules, but there are also differences of opinion regarding the rights of citizens.
“I have problems understanding the United Kingdom’s position,” said the French politician, and expressed hope that they would be able to reach agreement on the next negotiating round.
According to the chief negotiator, the exclusion treaty will include that the elements of the single market regulation should remain fully applicable to Northern Ireland, as otherwise it is not possible to avoid restoring physical border controls to Ireland. “Leaving the internal market and the customs union would make border control inevitable,” he said.
Barnier also responded that the British minister responsible for the Brexit negotiations accused the European Union of bad faith for setting up a kind of sanction mechanism during the transitional period in order to suspend certain benefits of internal market membership for London in the event of a UK breach of the law.
Not the punishment of the British is the goal, and the international conventions usually include a “serious and effective” enforcing mechanism.
Finally, Michel Barnier repeatedly criticized the fact that London still did not detail its vision of the future relationship system. “It’s time, we can not lose a minute if we want to achieve success,” he said.
The island wants to agree on the EU’s March 22-23 Summit as scheduled for a transitional period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.
Source: MTI / Picture: hirado.hu