Global Economy

Michel Barnier tells UK to Be ‘More Realistic’ on trade talks

Brussels: The UK needs to be “more realistic” in its demands as trade talks with the European Union continue this week, according to the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

“Clearly we want an agreement, but that cannot be an agreement at any cost,” Barnier said in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper. “We will not accept — never accept — anything that makes the single market more fragile,” he added.

Britain is set to leave the EU’s single market and customs union without a trade deal in place if no agreement is reached by the end of the year. Barnier said it’s simply a matter of turning pledges made by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders last year into legal text — “no more, no less.”

“We need to remember together the commitments that we entered into together,” he said.

He added that throughout the Brexit process, the UK has attempted to “cherry pick” aspects of EU membership without accepting the corresponding obligations. While Barnier told the Sunday Times that the two sides “haven’t made an awful lot of progress,” he added that “even if it is difficult, I do believe an agreement is possible.”


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