LONDON: The president of the European Council Donald Tusk has said that trade between the EU and UK will be “more complicated and costly” under any outcome of upcoming negotiations, giving warning; “That is the essence of Brexit”.
He said this while, unveiling draft guidelines for the negotiations, due to be adopted at a summit later this month by the 27 remaining members of the EU.
The guidelines say that Brussels wants “as close as possible a partnership” with the UK after Brexit, but expects there will be “negative economic consequences”. Speaking at a press conference in Luxembourg just hours after sending the guidelines to the EU27 capitals, Mr Tusk said Brussels hoped for an “ambitious and advanced” free trade agreement (FTA) with zero tariffs on goods but limited access for services. But he added: “This positive approach doesn’t change the simple fact that because of Brexit we will be drifting apart.” Mr Tusk said: “Our agreement will not make trade between the UK and EU frictionless or smoother.
It will make it more complicated and costly than today for all of us. This is the essence of Brexit.” After Theresa May set out her vision for the future EU/UK relationship in her Mansion House speech on Friday, Mr Tusk said that the only option available in negotiations was an FTA of the type signed with Canada. And in a clear demonstration of Brussels’s reluctance to deliver the kind of bespoke deal outlined by the Prime Minister last week, he said: “I fully understand and of course I respect Theresa May’s political objective, to demonstrate at any price that Brexit could be a success and was the right choice. “But sorry, it is not our objective.”