Brexit: EU states want to 'punish' UK warns Lord Digby Jones
British negotiators tried to make gains by proposing a “tariffs for freedom” arrangement. The proposed plan meant the UK would not have to follow EU rules after the transition period is over but accept duties on British exports to the bloc.
Ms Merkel is thought to have played a discreetly influential part in the EU’s rejection of the proposed arrangement.
A source close to the British negotiating team told the Mail on Sunday: “We thought this would be the moment.
“But they just weren’t interested. They won’t accept that Brexit means setting our own rules.
“We could set up all sorts of dispute recognition systems to make sure the new plan was fair, but the root of the problem seems to be Merkel herself: she doesn’t trust Boris.
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“They are very different people.”
Ms Merkel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron reportedly teamed up to block the progress of Britain’s talks with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The two European leaders refused to let Mr Johnson enter direct trade talks with them.
Downing Street officials have reportedly admitted to being shocked by Brussels’ inflexibility.
They have labelled the actions as “insecurity” on the EU side.
One official told the Mail on Sunday: “They are being so adamant about the need for us to stay fixed in their orbit, shackled by their rules, that it must mean they fear the UK becoming a nimble, low-tax, low-regulation Singapore-style economy on their doorstep, one which would be far more attractive to business.”
The Dutch and Belgian governments also said they did not want a trade deal to be “rushed through” without reviewing the clauses and legal scrutiny.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed on Saturday that four 80-metre armed vessels are on standby to guard British waters from European fishing boats if there is no new post-Brexit deal on fishing rights.
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In response to the news, an Elysee official told Reuters on Saturday “Keep calm and carry on” referencing the British wartime slogan.
French MEP Pierre Karleskind, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, reiterated the “keep calm” message.
He told Times Radio: “Let’s keep cool. Let’s keep calm.
“I was just looking at a history book. The creation of the French Royal Navy was done in 1294 in response to naval battles between French and English fishermen.
“So this is a long, long history between our two nations.
“You’re saying it’s about fish but let’s think just a few seconds.
“Do you really think it’s only about fish that navy ships are used and will be used? I don’t think so.”
Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen have both warned there are significant differences between London and Brussels in trade negotiations.
Negotiations over the trade deal are expected to end on Sunday as both sides have acknowledged that a no-deal scenario is now more likely.
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