MENU
EU Economics

BREXIT BOMBSHELL: Europe’s leaders could OVERRULE Barnier and start trade talks NEXT MONTH

EUROPEAN nations could choose to overrule their chief negotiator Michel Barnier and trigger trade talks with Britain next month, a senior EU diplomat said today.

By NICK GUTTERIDGE, BRUSSELS CORRESPONDENT

A top official told the AFP there was an outside chance that EU leaders may decide to make “history” and agree sufficient progress has been achieved in the negotiations.Such a move would be a massive shock, given the repeated insistence by a wide range of senior EU figures that there is still more work to do before the second phase can begin.

Eurocrats are also becoming increasingly concerned by the instability of Theresa May and have voiced fears that “hardline” Boris Johnson could take her place, scuppering any ground made so far.

Every EU leader asked on the record to date has reiterated the Commission’s position that, whilst progress is being made, it is not yet sufficient to trigger trade talks.

EU chief negotiator Michel BarnierGETTY

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier


Mr Barnier himself has repeatedly stressed that point and has voiced his opinion that this month’s October summit of the 27 leaders will not be the time to wrap up the divorce phase.Under the bloc’s staggered negotiating strategy the two parties have to agree on divorce issues, including citizens’ rights, the Brexit bill and Ireland, before thrashing out a future partnership.

Any shock decision to overrule the very mandate they gave the Frenchman and trigger trade talks earlier than his recommendation would likely make his position untenable.

And it would also be a huge personal blow to Mr Barnier, providing a damning indictment of his performance in the negotiations and denting his long-held ambitions of becoming EU Commission president.

Our biggest fear is that Theresa May is replaced by Boris Johnson

Irish official

The revelations came as German car companies were warned to prepare for the hardest possible Brexit amid reports the negotiations will revert back to square one when they reopen next week.British negotiators have apparently made it clear that Mrs May’s concessions on cash and a transition, delivered in her Florence speech, are dependent on the EU agreeing to a comprehensive trade deal.

That stance is unacceptable to Mr Barnier and the Commission, who have stuck rigidly to the phased mandate they were handed by the EU27 which says there can be no blurring divorce issues and the future partnership.

There have been suggestions that the member states, spooked by a lack of progress in the talks, could look to tweak those guidelines at this month’s summit to provide the Frenchman with more flexibility.

Brussels negotiators have started questioning what the progress they have made so far will be worth if the PM is deposed and replaced by somebody else – possible Mr Johnson.

One diplomat told the Times: “We can’t take the risk of going forward if her government might fall before December. Can we seriously talk about a transition when Britain’s foreign minister is opposed and her government is so publicly split?”

And an Irish official added: “We are cautiously optimistic that we can reach an agreement. Our biggest fear is that Theresa May is replaced by Boris Johnson, who would take a much more hardline approach.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/863010/Brexit-news-EU-states-overrule-Barnier-start-trade-talks-diplomat

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Help put the World to rights and leave a Comment

wpDiscuz
MENU
Powered by: Wordpress
%d bloggers like this: