Brexit: Simon Coveney says EU’s demands ‘not unreasonable’
If the two sides fail to come to an agreement, Brussels has stated member states must not break with the single market to sign any unilateral deals with the UK. The warning came in Brussels’s no deal contingency plan document which was released today by the EU Commission today. It warned member states: “With regard to national measures, the Commission will continue to engage with Member States with the aim of ensuring that national measures do not fragment or undermine the Single Market.
“National measures should also take into account the overarching priority with regard to the relationship of the Union with any third country, in order preserve the integrity of the Single Market, limit the risk of fragmentation and avoid unequal treatment of Member States.
“In any event, national measures of any kind have to comply with EU law, including the principle of sincere cooperation.
“At any rate, the EU collectively has a stronger bargaining power than each Member State acting alone.
“This bargaining power benefits all Member States.
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“It must be used to ensure a level playing field between the EU and the United Kingdom.”
The threat of a sovereign, independent nation on the doorstep of the single market has been one of the EU’s biggest fears throughout Brexit negotiations.
Due to this fear, the EU has imposed multiple regulatory demands on the UK.
It has done this under the guise of the so-called level playing field which would keep the UK bound to certain EU regulations and standards in several sectors.
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If the UK were to exceed or drop below these standards, the EU fears the single market could be damaged.
UK officials have so far expressed their concern over Brussels’s desire to tie Britain into its rules and standards.
Primarily, Britain argues that as it is now an independent nation, it should not have to adhere to these regulations.
The UK will formally leave the EU’s single market and customs unions as of January 1 – the end of the transition period.
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Although Northern Ireland will remain as part of the UK customs territory, due to its border with the Republic of Ireland, it will need to follow some regulatory checks on goods entering the country from Great Britain.
This week, Cabinet Office minister Micheal Gove met with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, to discuss Northern Ireland’s status post-Brexit.
The protocol was drawn up within the withdrawal agreement and states UK authorities will need to apply EU customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland to stop the creation of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Commenting after talks this week, Mr Gove said: “Throughout this year there have been intense talks between ourselves and the European Commission in order to make sure we can resolve the issues on what’s called the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Of course people wanted to make sure there’s no border infrastructure at the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, but also that Northern Ireland can be a secure part of the UK.
“We’ve agreed that and, as a result, some of the measures we were putting forward – which some in Europe had criticised – we no longer need to introduce those.
“That means there is a smoother glide path to a possible deal.”
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