During the post negotiation press conference, Barnier states his” ambition is still to achieve a free trade agreement, with no tariffs or quotas on any goods.” Barnier says that the future relationship between the two entities” will never be as fluid as within the Single Market or a Customs Union” warning” everyone must prepare for the changes that will happen in any case at the end of the transition.”
The EU negotiator states that the new future relationship between the two sides would be the” first in the history of EU FTAs.” Barnier doesn’t want the UK to have an FTA like other nations; he would prefer a relationship where the EU still has a ruling say ” Our proposal testifies to our level of ambition – and this, with a neighbouring country that is highly interconnected with our Union; a former member with which it would be artificial to copy-paste a “best-of” from our existing free trade agreements with Canada, South Korea or Japan.”
Barnier said:” In this negotiation, the Union is looking to the future, not to the precedents of the past.”
With hardly any progress being made in negotiations, time is indeed running out for an agreement to be reached. In part, this is due to the EU doing its best to hold back the UK in regards to its future competitiveness. The term “Level playing field” is currently being used to bind the hands of Britain in any future trade deals. Barnier said that any agreement going forward between the two sides “must be underpinned by fair competition conditions, namely when it comes to state aid, social standards, or taxation.”
Britain, on the other hand, has made it crystal clear why they seek a genuine free trade deal, in line with precedent from other trade deals between the EU and other third countries. Barnier has said:” if we were to eliminate on 98% or 99% of tariffs, the EU would still demand the same strong Level Playing Field guarantees.”
Gove went on the attack due to the lack of movement coming from the EU saying the” UK might renounce to the objective of ‘zero tariffs, zero quotas’, in the hope of being freed from level playing field obligations.”
Whichever way you look at this it’s clear to say that the EU does not have the upper hand and here’s the reason. Barnier represents 27 other nations, all having different agendas to push with none of the countries backing down from their demands. This makes any wriggle room from the EU impossible, hence why the EU demands the UK to do the moving.