Punishing UK for Brexit is 'language of a gang' - trade minister Fox

Punishing UK for Brexit is 'language of a gang' - trade minister Fox

Punishing UK for Brexit is 'language of a gang' - trade minister Fox

On Wednesday, the European Union offered Britain a free trade agreement for their post-Brexit relationship that fell well short of ambitions set out by Prime Minister Theresa May last week, notably for the key financial sector.

The European Union is hoping it will be granted an exemption from USA import tariffs and believes that an exemption for one EU country would apply to the bloc as a whole, European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said on Thursday.

"Because of Brexit we will be drifting apart".

"In fact, this will be the first free-trade agreement in history that loosens economic ties instead of strengthening them".

And in a clear demonstration of Brussels's reluctance to deliver the kind of bespoke deal outlined by the Prime Minister last week, he said: 'I fully understand and of course I respect Theresa May's political objective, to demonstrate at any price that Brexit could be a success and was the right choice. "Sorry, it's not our objective", he added. "This unfortunately will have negative economic consequences", it read.

The PM's official spokesman said: "We look forward to seeing the final guidelines when published and hope they will provide the flexibility to allow the European Union to think creatively and imaginatively about our future economic partnership".

European Commission President Donald Tusk has published guidelines for the future relationship, stressing that Britain can't take a "pick and mix" approach to membership benefits.

"It should come as no surprise", he said, "that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement".

He also pointed out that the depth and experience of the City could not be mapped, let alone replicated, so it would be in everyone's interests to include financial services in the deal.

The European Council (which in this case represents the other 27 member states) says it wants the EU to have as close as possible a relationship with the United Kingdom in the future.

Like the British government, the City of London wants a free-trade deal with the European Union, granting access to each other's financial markets based on broad acceptance of each other's rules.

The future of London as Europe's financial centre is one of the biggest issues in Brexit talks because it is Britain's largest export sector and biggest source of tax.

Until then, Brussels says it is waiting for the U.K.to offer up new and brilliant ideas: proposals, for example, on the Northern Ireland border, or on customs arrangements, regulatory alignment and legal constructs for dispute resolution that have not so far been forthcoming.

"It is clearly not in the national interest to accept a free trade deal which does not involve financial services".

The draft guidelines proclaim that there could be a zero tariff agreement with post-Brexit Britain that includes all goods (including, unusually, agriculture and fisheries).

The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar cautioned that the tough realities of Brexit were only now playing out in London, Brussels and elsewhere.

A leaked European Union report quoted by the Guardian newspaper dismissed similar demands laid out by May in her speech last Friday as "double-cherry picking", and more about managing her restive Conservative party than proper negotiating.

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