United Kingdom can´t enjoy `frictionless´ trade with European Union after Brexit, Barnier warns

07 July 2017, 12:30 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Business leaders demand indefinite delay in Britain's departure from Single Market and Customs Union

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United Kingdom banks and other financial services will not get a special trade deal giving them continued free access to the European Union's single market after Britain leaves the bloc, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator warned Thursday.

The group's demands came as Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, accused British politicians of failing to understand that the United Kingdom can not leave the Single Market and Customs Union without losing out.

"There is no sense in making the consequences of Brexit even worse", Michel Barnier said on Thursday (6 July).

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Britain will not be able to continue "frictionless" trade with its former EU partners after Brexit, the European Commission's chief negotiator has warned.

"I have heard some people in the United Kingdom argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits - that is not possible", he said. "But it is not clear whether they have been fully understood across the channel", he added.

Barnier explained that a "frictionless trade" would only be possible with "the combination of the customs union and the rules of the internal market".

Barnier said the European Union was not looking to punish Britain, but he made plain his view that the United Kingdom had failed to grasp the European Union would act in its own interest to protect the single market.

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"The EU already has free trade agreements with 58 countries that are not members of the customs union".

"I have heard some people in the United Kingdom argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits - that is not possible", he said.

A Downing Street spokesman said the UK's position was that it would secure "the most frictionless possible trade" between the United Kingdom and the European Union, adding that London's position is clear when asked if Ms May understood the EU's stance. And business should assess, with lucidity, the negative consequences of the UK's choice on trade and investment.

He argued, "In my eyes, there would be no reasonable justification for the "no deal" scenario.there is no reason to further aggravate the consequences of Brexit".

The warning comes on the eve of a meeting of business leaders and Brexit Secretary David Davis on at Chevening House in Kent.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has suggested Britain will walk away from negotiations if the European Union refuses to offer "free and frictionless trade".

"He said a "'no deal" would aggravate the "loser-loser' situation which necessarily results from Brexit.

As negotiations will start more than three months after May triggered the 2-year negotiating period, Barnier also warned that "time flies" until 29 March 2019, when Brexit will happen automatically.

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