Boris Repeats UK Will Not Be Ruled by EU Courts and Laws, ‘Australia-Style’ Relationship an Option

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus pandemic with chief medical officer Chris Whitty and Chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance in Downing Street after he had taken part in the government's COBRA meeting on March 16, …
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he will not allow Britain to be ruled by EU courts and laws after Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier implied that the British do not “respect” the bloc’s position.

The latest round of talks between the United Kingdom and EU ended a day early in Brussels on Thursday, with Britain’s lead negotiator David Frost saying that “significant differences” remained between the two parties.

His EU counterpart Michel Barnier released a statement saying that “The EU expects… its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement. We need an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom.”

LBC host Nick Ferrari asked the prime minister if Mr Barnier is correct in his implied criticism that the British government does not respect the EU. Mr Johnson disagreed, both on a government level and a personal one.

“I’m not remotely disrespectful of Michel [Barnier] or the EU system which I know well and understand deeply,” Prime Minister Johnson said on Friday.

“I just don’t think that it’s right for us to proceed on the basis of the European Court of Justice continuing to arbitrate in the UK, or us continuing to have to obey EU laws even when we’re out of the EU, or us having to hand over our amazing fish stock. So we’re not going to do those things.

“I’ve had some very good conversations with friends and colleagues around the EU. I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is. I just think there’s a good agreement to be reached.”

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31st, 2020, but remains in a “transition period” until December 31st, 2020. During that time, the country is still tied to the bloc’s rules, judges, and migration regime as negotiators attempt to agree on a future trading arrangement.

The British want to take back control of the country’s laws and borders while signing a free trade deal for the mutual benefit of both parties. The EU had signed a trade agreement with Canada that the British are measuring their proposed relationship against, which lifts the vast majority of tariffs.

The EU, however, wants the British to make long-term pledges on continuing to allow European fishermen to take from Britain’s waters — currently over 60 per cent of British stocks ar taken by EU boats — while the British want to make annual arrangements in which they have the majority of the landings.

Brussels also wants any future deal to be arbitrated by the EU’s own European Court of Justice — a position unfavourable to the United Kingdom.

The EU27 also wants the United Kingdom to submit to “level playing field rules” on issues like state aid and standards — essentially requiring the British to follow EU regulations, to them from becoming more competitive than EU countries.

All these issues are red lines for both sides of the negotiation.

“[I]f we can’t [make a deal] then we will have the very good option also of an Australian-style arrangement,” Mr Johnson said on Friday.

While Australia does not have a formal trade deal with the European Union, it does have a partnership framework which facilitates trade and economic relations.

Boris Johnson remains optimistic that it is still possible to agree on a deal by even the end of July. His government has indicated that it is pushing for an end to talks by September, with or without a deal.

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