Hard Brexit – now a ‘game of chicken’
- On Friday, the third round of talks between the EU and the U.K. on their future relationship ended again with “very little progress made,” according to both sides, and plenty of hostile rhetorical flourishes.
- Having agreed a divorce package last year that allowed the U.K. to continue to trade with the EU, the two sides remain at an impasse on various issues, the thorniest being so-called level playing field rules, designed to prevent the U.K. undercutting the EU in future.
- Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost said the “major obstacle” remains the bloc’s “insistence” on the U.K. abiding by EU laws and standards in exchange for access to its single market.
- Brussels is not budging, and sees this as key to avoiding a race-to-the bottom competitor on the EU’s doorstep. “We are not going to bargain away our European values to the benefit of the British economy,” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said. “Economic and trade fair play is not for sale. It is not a ‘nice to have,’ it is a ‘must have.’”