Britain will not be EU ‘client state’: UK Brexit envoy
The United Kingdom will not become “a client state” under the terms of any post-Brexit trade deal it reaches with the European Union, says Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost.
Britain is “not going to compromise on the fundamentals of having control over our own laws,” Frost said ahead of an eighth and final round of scheduled negotiations with the bloc next week.
“We are not going to be a client state,” he told the Mail on Sunday as the stalled talks with the EU near their conclusion.
Britain followed through on the results of a 2016 EU membership referendum and officially pulled out of the bloc in January after nearly half a century.
But a standstill transition period that ends on December 31 allows the UK to effectively function as if it were still a member.
London and Brussels are supposed to agree new trade terms in the meantime that prevent ties from reverting to the minimum standards — and accompanying high tariffs and quotas — of the World Trade Organization.
The two sides, however, have not been able to reach an agreement over several issues, including so-called level playing field provisions and state aid besides fisheries.
“We are not going to accept provisions that give them control over our money or the way we can organize things here in the UK and that should not be controversial,” Frost added.
“That’s what being an independent country is about, that’s what the British people voted for and that’s what will happen at the end of the year, come what may.”
Now they need to strike a deal as time is running out with legal texts having to be scrutinized by member states and ratified by the European parliament.
Frost also said, “If we can reach an agreement that regulates trade like Canada’s, great. If we can’t, it will be an Australian-like trading agreement and we are fully ready for that.”
He referred to several years of negotiations held previously, saying the former UK government under Theresa May “had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments” during Brexit negotiations, a mistake they would not be repeating.
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