Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021

‘UK must learn to compromise’ – Former MEP warns single market ‘will not be destroyed’

Brexit: UK 'must learn' to compromise claims Elmar Brok

The UK and the European Union have been struggling to reach an agreement on the future trading relations they will share at the end of the Brexit transition period. With fisheries, governance and state aid still clear points of divergence between the two sides, Boris Johnson warned the UK must now prepare for no deal. Former German MEP Elmar Brok suggested an agreement can still be found but warned London must “learn to compromise.”

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Brok said: “Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson are very similar. If Boris Johnson plays a hardball, why shouldn’t the Europeans play it?

“Here everyone is ready for a compromise, the lines are clear, and it’s clear that the integrity of the internal market cannot be destroyed because that would not be good for us.

“If Britain says, ‘we want to have our sovereignty back,’ we want to keep our sovereignty.”

He added: “In British politics, they have to learn that, if you have an agreement between countries, then you have to compromise.”

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Mr Brok also dismissed speculation suggesting Germany may push for changes to the common mandate given to EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

The German politician said: “Britain has left the European Union. We hope that we can get an agreement for our trade on other matters but on the other side, we have no special German agenda.

“It’s the European agenda and Germany will not go out of this European negotiating ground and we will support the Brussels negotiations.

“There is no major party, especially not in the Government, who is favouring going a different way.”

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After a last-ditch attempt to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues, Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to keep talks going until Sunday.

The pair said the weekend will have to result in a “firm decision” on the future relationship the two sides will have after December 31.

But despite both leaders committing to additional negotiations, the Prime Minister warned the risk of no deal is now incredibly high.

Speaking following a meeting with the Cabinet he insisted the country has to prepare for the changes that will come if no agreement is reached.

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He said: “What I’ve said to our negotiators is that we’ve got to keep going, and we’ll go the extra mile, and we will.

“And I will go to Brussels, I will go to Paris, I will go to Berlin, I will go to wherever to try and get this home and get a deal.

“Now is the time for the public and businesses to get ready for January 1, because believe me there’s going to be change either way.”

Should the UK leave the customs union and single market without an agreement, the country will begin trading with the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms.

The change could see many goods now travelling freely between the two sides subjected to price increases due to taxes and duties.

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