Brexit: Bonnell warns UK 'can't take advantage' of EU
Bruno Bonnell insisted Britain cannot “take advantage of the common market” as it is leaving the European Union. He dismissed claims that Brussels could be making the UK’s departure “as hard as possible” before claiming trade talks are likely to end in a no deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “hopeful” that progress could be made in talks but stressed that the two sides remained stuck on fisheries and the so-called level-playing field.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Bonnell said: “Europe is a common project if people want to leave Europe fair enough.
“But they can’t both be advantageous on one side being free to decide on their own future and take advantage of the common market in Europe.
“It’s not a question of Europe willing to make it as hard as possible.
“It’s a question on the logic of Europe and logic of a single country out of Europe.”
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Asked what concessions the EU has made during negotiations, the MEP added: “I think they are significant.
“The most important one if the symmetrical issue of saying, ‘fine if the UK goes farther than Europe in the way they conduct business, Europe should do the same thing.
“I think this idea of being symmetrical is a very big concession because originally you had to follow the European standard which was hard to swallow from the UK side.
“But still Mr Johnson wants to go further to be totally free to decide what he wants to do and when he wants to do it.”
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Mr Johnson has chaired a meeting, attended by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and other senior officials, to “take stock” of Government plans for a no deal exit, Number 10 confirmed.
His comments came after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the negotiating teams’ positions remained apart on “fundamental issues”.
The two leaders have agreed to make a decision on the future of the negotiations by the end of the weekend.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to Blyth in Northumberland, Mr Johnson said: “Unfortunately at the moment, as you know, there are two key things where we just can’t seem to make progress.
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“And that’s this kind of ratchet clause they’ve got in to keep the UK locked in to whatever they want to do in terms of legislation, which obviously doesn’t work.
“And then there is the whole issue of fish where we’ve got to be able to take back control of our waters. So there is a way to go – we’re hopeful that progress can be made.
“But I’ve got to tell that from where I stand now, here in Blyth, it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January.
“It obviously would be different from what we’d set out to achieve but I have no doubt this country can get ready and, as I say, come out on World Trade terms.”
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