Michel Barnier says 'even Mr Farage' can't persuade him Brexit will be a success

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2 min read
European commission member in charge of Brexit negotiations with Britain, French Michel Barnier (R) speaks with Member of the European Parliament and former leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 5, 2017.   The European Parliament will on April 5 lay down its "red lines" for negotiations over a Brexit deal, on which the assembly will have the final say in two years' time. / AFP PHOTO / Sebastien Bozon        (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)
Nigel Farage and Michel Barnier at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2017 (SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Michel Barnier has again spoken out against Brexit as he issued a fresh warning to the UK government about trade negotiations.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator sarcastically referred to Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at a seminar in Brussels on Wednesday.

He said: “No one has managed to show me what is the added value of Brexit, even Mr Farage.”

He made exactly the same jibe at a conference in Lisbon in November last year.

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Barnier went on to warn the UK must accept common standards with the EU if it wants preferential access to European markets.

He said: “We are ready to offer to the UK super-preferential access to our markets – a level of access that would be unprecedented for a third country.

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“Is this something we can do without firm guarantees that the UK will respect the level playing field and avoid unfair competitive advantages? The answer, I’m afraid, is simple. We cannot.

“We want competition in future but it must be fair – fair and free.”

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After Brexit happened on January 31, the UK and EU have entered a “transition period” in which the pair’s future relationship, including a trade deal, will be thrashed out. Barnier will be leading the talks on the EU’s side.

An agreement must be reached by December 31, otherwise the UK will trade with the EU on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms. This is seen as the same as a no-deal Brexit.