Friday, November 10, 2017
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has said that it is not possible for the UK to be "half in and half out" of the single market, or to leave the customs union "but expect to enjoy frictionless trade" with the EU.
During a speech in Rome, Michel Barnier stressed that there must be an agreement on the UK's "orderly withdrawal" before a discussion can be entered into "about our future relationship and a possible transition period." He added that time is "running out" and that the "time for genuine clarifications is fast approaching."
Barnier also argued that "what it means to leave the European Union, the single market, and the customs union" must be properly understood.
Barnier explained: "It is not possible to be half in and half out of the single market. It is not possible to end the free movement of persons, while retaining the free movement of goods, services, or capital by means of a generalized system of equivalences."
"It is not possible to leave the single market and continue to set the rules. It is not possible to leave the customs union but expect to enjoy frictionless trade with the EU."
Barnier additionally made clear that "there will be no future relationship without common rules," and that there will be "no close trade links without a level playing field." He said that it will be important to establish these rules, because they will be a factor in the resultant debates on the ratification of the EU's agreement with the UK.