Brexit: Ursula von der Leyen calls for ‘fairness’ from UK
Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU continue to hang on a knife edge over fisheries and the level playing field ahead of the December 31 deadline. EU negotiators are refusing to shift on its red-lines regarding the level playing field – which covers areas including environmental standards, workers’ rights and state subsidies.
Brussels chiefs argue the mechanism to bound the UK to EU regulations is required to protect the EU single market and prevent firms gaining a competitive advantage in another country.
Former Brexit Party MEP James Wells explained any post-Brexit deal should just cover trade based upon friendly corporation and warned any oversight from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will make it “structurally difficult for the UK to compete”.
He explained any disputes should then be adjudicated by the World Trade Organisation.
The former member of the European Parliament for Wales said the UK should only need to follow EU regulations for exports to the EU market, but insisted if the UK cannot change EU law then the CJEU should not be able to intervene in domestic legislation.
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Wells also claimed it is a misconception that the EU has higher standards than the UK.
He also pointed out another major flaw in the level playing field was if Britain raises its standards then the EU does not have to follow suit.
Mr Wells said: “They call it a level playing field but if it is all one way, we have to follow their rules and we cannot change their rules, then it is hardly level is it.
“That is the thing that most people don’t understand, they say this ‘well hang on you know it’s got to be fair and all of this and we can’t undercut them and dump and all of those kind of things’ but that is fine.
“But it’s hardly a level playing field if we have just got to follow their rules and if we want higher standards the EU doesn’t have to follow our rules. It’s bonkers really.
“I don’t think people really understand, you know, they don’t see that, I think the assumption is the EU has higher standards, which is not the case on employment and various other sectors and dimensions – actually UK law is already at a higher standard than EU law.”
The Prime Minister held talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday evening but were unable to bridge the gap in negotiations.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the UK had made “every effort to accommodate reasonable EU requests” on the level playing field but conceded the area remained “difficult”.
Speaking during a visit to Greater Manchester on Friday afternoon, Mr Johnson said the chances of a deal were “looking difficult”.
Earlier, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier admitted there were “just a few hours” left in the talks.
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Mr Barnier said: “We have very little time remaining, just a few hours, to work through these negotiations in useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on January 1.
“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”
The Prime Minister and Ms von der Leyen are set assess the progress of trade discussions during a call on Sunday.
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