EU warning: Brussels in ‘catch 22 position’ as states to question point of membership

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Lance Forman claimed there are divisions within the European Union over Brexit talks as each member state holds different objectives for the outcomes of trade negotiations with the UK. The former MEP noted if the UK does well out of Brexit, other countries will question the need for membership. Speaking to talkRADIO, he said: “I think what you’re starting to see now is divisions within the EU membership itself.

“The EU have a different objective to the members of the EU and there’s no question Germany want to do a deal with us but they’re being held up by the French fishermen.

“The Germans don’t eat fish, they’re not that fussed.

“There’s an internal conflict there and maybe Angela Merkel will have to give a special deal to French fishermen.

“It could be that there will have to be internal deals with other EU members so they keep themselves satisfied if they want to get a deal done with the UK.”

He added: “The EU is in a catch 22 position, the EU itself.

“If Britain does well out of Brexit, it begs the question: what is the point of the EU?

“Other countries will look at Britain and think what is the point. I know Italy is very divided now, there’s a very strong leave desire now.

“They’ll see us doing well outside the EU and think ‘let’s leave ourselves’.”

It comes as Brussels is prepared to “intensify” trade talks, European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said as the UK declared the process over unless there was a fundamental change in the bloc’s position.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said further talks would be “meaningless” without a shift in the EU’s stance.

But Mr Barnier, who discussed the crisis with counterpart Lord Frost, said the EU was prepared to continue talks across all subjects in the negotiations.

Crucially, he indicated the EU was prepared to discuss “legal texts” for a deal, something the UK has been pushing for.


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In the Commons, Mr Gove said it was “almost incredible” that the EU had so far refused to discuss legal texts so far.

Relations between London and Brussels broke down last week after a European Council summit failed to provide a breakthrough on a deal and watered-down commitments to round-the-clock negotiations.

Mr Gove told MPs: “The conclusions of that council reaffirmed the EU’s original negotiating mandate, they dropped a reference to intensive talks that has been in the draft and they declared that all, all future moves in this negotiation had to be made by the UK.”

Responding to Mr Barnier’s comments, Mr Gove said it was “a reflection of the strength and resolution (of) our Prime Minister” and a sign that the Government’s “firmness” with the EU is “now bearing fruit”.

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