Dominic Raab accuses EU of ‘double standards’ as Brexit talks due to get underway
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said a trade deal is ‘there for the taking’ and accused the EU of ‘double standards’.
Mr Raab said the EU was trying to make Britain agree to terms that are different and beyond terms that were included in free trade agreements in the past.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, he said the UK could not accept being controlled by the bloc’s state aid rules after Brexit.
He added that the negotiations had ‘boiled down to two outstanding bones of contention’ which are the control of UK fishing waters and taxpayer support for businesses.
It comes as the Government is looking to step up pressure on the EU to let up on these two issues and come to an agreement with the UK.
He said: ‘There is a good deal there for the EU. We’d love to do that free trade agreement and if not we’ll fall back on Australian-style rules.
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‘I think this week is an important moment for the EU to really effectively recognise that those two point of principles are not something we can just haggle away.
‘They are the very reasons we are leaving the EU but we want a positive relationship and the arm of friendship and goodwill is extended.
‘It is up to the EU to decide whether they want to reciprocate.’
In an interview with BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, he described a deal as ‘win-win’ and argued that it would avoid the ‘damaging impacts’ of a no-deal fallout on both sides of the Channel.
Recently the Prime Minister’s Europe Adviser and Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe Lord David Frost echoed similar sentiments when he told the Mail on Sunday that the Government was not ‘scared’ of walking away from the talks without a deal.
Lord Frost said the UK is preparing to leave after the transition period ‘come what may’, even if that means exiting with no-deal and that it would not be a ‘client state’ to the EU.
‘I don’t think that we are scared of this at all. We want to get back the powers to control our borders and that is the most important thing.’
‘If we can reach an agreement that regulates trade like Canada’s, great. If we can’t, it will be an Australian-like trading agreement and we are fully ready for that.’
Lord Frost is set for another round of key negotiations in London with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier this week.
They will look to agree on terms before the autumn so they can have a deal signed off when the transition period comes to an end on December 31.
Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, criticised the approach and said if they did not reach an agreement it would be a ‘disaster’ for the country.
He told Sophy Ridge: ‘I do feel the Government is being very reckless and risky.
‘We are in a recession now. It wasn’t foreseen when Brexit was first talked of and during the referendum and during the last election.
‘This recession due to Covid, some people say, may be the worst and the deepest recession for 300 years and, in that context, the idea of a no-deal Brexit on top of the Covid recession, I think, would be a disaster for people’s jobs, for livelihoods, for businesses up and down the country.’
The former cabinet minister said he wants the country to have a close relationship with Europe but that talks of his party campaigning to rejoin the EU at the next election under his leadership is ‘for the birds’.
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