Nigel Farage Meets Michel Barnier, Warns of ‘no deal’ on Brexit

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr

On Monday, Nigel Farage, the British member of the European Parliament, said that Britain should just opt for a hard Brexit once the European Union does not offer an agreement regarding financial services.

Farage is a former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) who campaigned for Britain to withdraw from the European Union. He stated that in the absence of a deal on financial services, Britain might just as well base the nation’s future relations with the European Union on rules of the World Trade Organisation, or what is called as the hard Brexit option.

Talking to reporters after a meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, Farage said that the bloc seemed to be ready to offer a free trade deal for goods. However, he said that it was reluctant to give the financial services industry of Britain open access to its markets.

Farage said: “Unless he can compromise somewhat and be prepared to give on services and financial services, the calls to go out of the EU under WTO rules will increase.”

Both sides said that the meeting was civil, even though Farage said that he did not think that Barnier, who is a former French foreign minister, understood the role that the open EU immigration had played in the Brexit referendum of 2016.

“I really don’t think he gets it,” said Farage, who leads UKIP in the European Parliament, describing his visit to Barnier as a response to meetings he had held with Britons who argue for Brexit to be called off or watered down: “I’m trying to represent the view of those who voted Brexit,” said Farage.