So much for Theresa May’s free trade plans – EU Brexit advisor says they’re not good enough

The advisor to Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, pictured, has raised a number of objections to points in Theresa May’s Mansion House speech.

Once again, Theresa May’s Brexit wish-list falls apart when it comes to the detail.

She is an amateur. Worse, her advisors and ministers must also be amateurs – otherwise her speech would not have mentioned her proposal; her team would have had to come up with something else.

I wonder whether this is a further indication of division in the Tory Cabinet over Brexit. They can’t agree, so they send her out with a half-baked compromise idea that simply won’t work.

The situation is reminiscent of Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech – which was also prompted by disagreements over Europe: “It’s rather like sending our opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find that before the first ball is bowled, their bats have been broken by the team captain.”

Except in this case, it’s the team who have broken the captain’s bat.

Theresa May’s chances of securing a deep free-trade deal with the EU were dealt a blow when Stefaan de Rynck, the main adviser to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, stressed that the rules of the single market required far more than her chief proposal – a mutual recognition of standards.

May claimed in her speech last Friday that the UK could negotiate a future trade relationship based on mutual recognition of standards overseen by a third party court, made up of EU and UK nominees.

But De Rynck said: “The EU has moved away in the wake of the financial crisis from mutual recognition of national standards to a centralised approach with a single EU rule book and common enforcement structures and single supervisory structures.”

He added that EU rules were clear that the European court of justice could intervene at any point to declare that mutual recognition of standards was undermining the single market’s integrity.

Source: EU Brexit adviser deals blow to Theresa May’s free-trade proposal | Politics | The Guardian

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14 thoughts on “So much for Theresa May’s free trade plans – EU Brexit advisor says they’re not good enough

  1. Barry

    It’s time may told the eu their plans have not met an acceptable level and they will have to rethink, which shouldn’t be difficult as all we have had so far is junker tusk Barnier and verhofprat spouting demands that have no reliable backing from the 27 nations, it’s time they made some progress with the process.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Wrong way round. The EU will carry on as normal; it is for the UK’s benefit that these talks are even happening. So the people you have named (or insulting my misnamed) have far more right to tell Mrs May to rethink. They don’t need explicit support from the EU27 to carry on business as usual.

      1. Zippi

        From Article 50:
        “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh, there will be an agreement. If the UK doesn’t get its act together, the agreement will be that there will be no free trade agreement and we must trade with the EU on WTO rules.

      3. Zippi

        You said that it was for the U.K.s benefit that the talks were even happening; I was merely showing that it is a condition of the £isbon Treaty, which was agreed by all Member States. Whether, or not there will be an agreement has yet to be seen. Not being privy to the negotiations, I can’t say; clearly, what we get is spin, on both sides so, we shall just have to wait but be under no illusion that the E.U. is doing anything out of goodness of its heart; these talks are happening, because they have to.

  2. Growing Flame

    Judging by the joyous reception given to her last “big speech” on the subject, May’s ineptitude will remain well hidden by the mass media. No matter what the outcome of the negotiations, the Tories and the Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph, Express and Times will rally round and declare it a famous victory, comparable to Dunkirk.

  3. Zippi

    Of course, he’ll say that. Why are people so willing to see this fail? The E.U. wants everything its own way and who could blame it? It is no different from Theresa May “wanting her cake and eating it.” This is what negotiation is about’ both sides wanting the best for themselves. At some point both sides recognise that in order to get something that they want, they have to concede something, much like the U.K. did when it joined the E.E.C. The E.U. will realise that it cannot get everything that it wants, something that Theresa May acknowledged and accepted during her speech last week. Our people may not be the best but don’t lay all of the blame at their feet; the E.U, is continuing with its intransigence and at the end of the day, it is people, people on both sides of the E.U./ U.K. divide, who will suffer. It doesn’t have to be this way but until BOTH sides start negotiating and seeking to make a deal that will work for all parties concerned, nothing will change and the thing will be doomed to failure.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Of the things the EU wants, what hasn’t it managed to get?
      As far as I can tell, the UK has given way on everything.

  4. Emily

    It’s May’s red lines that are acceptable to the EU…from the start she’s been deliberately unclear about what she wants and the people of NI have said no hard border…the EU have lost their patients with her and who can blame them

  5. Growing Flame

    Yes, I chose Dunkirk as a good example of a defeat and humiliation that was turned into a victory by not looking too closely, and being desperate for something positive in a difficult period. It also involved abandoning other European allies before having to take years to try to rebuild relations again. All in all a pretty inspired choice.

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