Michel Barnier Rejects Key Aspects of PM May’s Customs Plan


Various significant aspects of the plans of Theresa May for the customs relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union after Brexit has been rejected by Michael Barnier, however, he has not ruled out hope on any development between the talks.

During a press conference today alongside Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary of the United Kingdom, after the meeting that was held in Brussels, Barnier said that the European Union cannot and “will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member”

The Chequers white paper of PM May had suggested a facilitated customs arrangement, whereby the United Kingdom and the European Union would collect tariffs on behalf of the other.

Barnier said that any customs union or agreements entered “must respect this principle,” and involve acceptance of its common commercial policy for goods.

Raab disclosed that the two had a “good discussion” this week, with 80 percent of the withdrawal agreement already being agreed upon including a financial settlement and the citizen’s rights.

The talks surrounding the Irish backstop continue to be unsettled, however, Raab is confident that both he and Barnier would be able to “address those issues in time.”.

Both representatives confirmed that they are still striving for a deal to be signed by this coming October.

Earlier this week, the British Prime Minister gave Raab an effective demotion,  as Theresa May confirmed that she will be the one to lead the discussions with the European Union from now on with Raab acting as her deputy.

A written statement that was issued by PM May just before summer recess started said that Raab and the Department for Exiting the EU would still continue to be in charge of the preparations regarding the domestic side.

Stephen Jones, the Finance chief of the United Kingdom, welcomed the comments of Barnier regarding the future market access for financial services to be autonomously decided by each side, as long as it does not limit further “detailed advance consultation mechanisms” between both parties.

He continued that such consultations would enable regulatory changes to be fully discussed and understood by both sides, before autonomous decisions that could affect the availability of cross-border services will be implemented.