Barnier: Bespoke Brexit is not on the negotiations table
28 October, 2017
Britain must accept the full economic and legal status quo in a transition period after it leaves the EU and should expect no tailor-made terms on trade in its future relationship, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said in an interview published last Tuesday in Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper.
He added that during that transition period the UK would remain subject to EU laws and courts.
“We don't have time to invent a new model. So for a short time after the formal exit from the EU the economic status quo would continue to apply, which besides the internal market also includes the customs union and collective political decisions,” Barnier pointed out.
British PM Theresa May has proposed a transition of around two years in order to give time to put a new free trade pact in place. Barnier noted that May had rejected the option of staying in the EU single market long-term, following the Norwegian model, as he called it, referring to Norway's membership of the EU internal market, accepting all its rules and costs without having a say. Asked if there could be “a specifically British model” along the lines of the “bespoke arrangements” May has referred to without giving detail, Barnier replied simply: “No.”
Separately, EU Council President Donald Tusk described negotiations over the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the Union as “the EU's toughest stress test” yet. “If we fail it, the negotiations will end in our defeat. We must keep our unity regardless of the direction of the talks,” he said during a debate in the EU parliament.