Farage Warns Boris’s Brexit Deal Will Leave UK Liable to EU Bank

Former UK Independence Party leader and Brexit spearhead Nigel Farage speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 1, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could agree on a deal with the EU that could see the UK be financially liable to the European Central Bank and forced to accept regulations on state aid.

The Brexit Party leader remarked that while Mr Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement (WA) had passed in the House of Commons last year, it was still “little better” than former prime minister Theresa May’s unpassable “Soft Brexit” deal. There remain in it elements that could see the United Kingdom tied to the EU after the country officially leaves the bloc’s control on December 31st, 2020, he said.

Writing in the Daily Express on Tuesday, Mr Farage said that even when he reviewed the document in 2019, he was concerned that “the European Court of Justice would have a continued say in British public life”.

“There were also clever legal wordings that would keep us within the Common Fisheries Policy and commitments to continued regulatory alignment. In short, I felt it was not Brexit,” he wrote.

While he praised the British chief negotiator David Frost for holding the line on issues such as fishing, he also predicted “that a deal will be reached in the coming months but one in which we have continued financial liabilities through the European Investment Bank and one in which we will not truly be free in areas such as state aid”.

State aid is an advantage granted to an organisation by the British government through state resources, which the EU restricts to stop what it claims are distortions of fair trade and competition. Freedom to command state aid rules will be crucial in the immediate future in the fight against Chinese dominance in the Western tech industry, with the government considering state aid for British companies to develop domestic alternatives to Huawei.

Mr Farage wrote: “The year 2020 will be remembered in history as the year we finally left the European Union, but the final shape of our withdrawal looks unlikely to be the true freedom that many of us had fought for, for decades.”

The Brexit Party leader also said that even amongst those in the prime minister’s party, “many who backed the Withdrawal Agreement who would happily see it ditched”, naming former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith as “being the most prominent among them”.

Earlier this month, Mr Duncan Smith had said that the Withdrawal Agreement leaves the UK liable for loan repayments to European Investment Bank and the European Financial Stability Mechanism until 2040, to the tune of billions.

“Buried in the fine print, unnoticed by many, is the fact we remain hooked into the EU’s loan book,” Sir Iain said, with The Sun estimating the total could be up to £160 billion. The Tory Brexiteer is among a number pressuring the prime minister to drop the loan repayment from the agreement.

The UK officially left the EU on January 31st, 2020, and remains in a transition period until the end of this year. During this time, the UK is tied to EU rules and regulations, and if an agreement is not made between Brussels and London, the UK will leave the bloc entirely and trade on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Negotiations are at an impasse because the UK will not shift on freedom from the European Court of Justice, trade and state aid regulations, and fishing.

Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Rote said last week that the UK’s demands to regain full sovereignty from the EU while still pursuing a fair, mutually beneficial trade deal, was not “realistic”.

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