EU says second round of Brexit talks will be even tougher
London: The European Union expects even tougher talks with Britain about future relations than the ones that eventually led to their amicable divorce, a top Brussels negotiator said Wednesday.
Stefaan de Rynck, a senior adviser to chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, said Brussels understood London’s desire to seize back control of its economy after Brexit.
Britain formally ended its 47-year membership of the EU on January 31, nearly four years after a majority voted to leave the bloc in a 2016 referendum.
But de Rynck said London must still follow some EU rules and regulation if it wants to secure a new trade agreement by the time the post-Brexit transition period shuts on December 31.
The European Union — the world’s largest single market — is Britain’s main trading partner, although its dominant role in the UK economy is gradually being challenged by fast-growing countries such as China.
“We expect some of the negotiations to be rather difficult, perhaps more difficult than during the withdrawal,” de Rynck told an audience at the London School of Economics.
“The legal field that needs to be agreed is also bigger.”
London and Brussels are preparing to thrash out a trade deal this year, when EU rules remain in place.
But a tough fight is expected on agreeing terms on everything from fishing quotas and financial service regulations to security cooperation and data protection rules. – AFP