Brexit blackmail: EU threatens to BAN British meat if trade negotiations fail
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The Government is currently trying to negotiate a new deal for when the Brexit transition period runs out at the end of this year. Earlier this week it announced plans to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement unless the EU makes additional concessions to Britain.
This could be done via the Internal Market Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.
European leaders have threatened to withdraw from trade negotiations with London unless the bill is withdrawn.
Senior figures in the European Parliament have also pledged to block any trade deal with the UK if the proposal becomes law.
The Government has admitted unilaterally altering the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would be a violation of international law.
However Ministers argue they have no alternative if they are to fully protect British sovereignty.
According to a senior source, speaking to The Times, close to the UK’s negotiating team this move was partly made after Brussels warned it could effectively ban British meat produce from the EU market by refusing to accept they meets the basic standards required.
They alleged under the Withdrawal Agreement terms this could prevent meat being sent from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as the latter would effectively stay within the EU’s customs union.
Referring to meat restrictions the source said: “They have suggested it.
“It would be really quite a major step in our relationship if the EU went down this route, but they have made that threat explicitly from time to time in the talks.
“That’s the reality of the negotiations we’re conducting.”
However the source argued talks are unlikely to completely breakdown and indicated a deal remains possible.
They commented: “We are committed to a deal. We want to carry on.
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“It is not at all uncommon in international relations for states that are involved in dispute settlement with each other while still carrying on all kinds of normal business in the usual way and that would be our expectation if we were to get into that situation.
“In some of the more mainstream areas in this negotiation such as trade in goods and trade in services we’re beginning to get to a stage where you can begin to see how some of the practical issues might settle in a way that suits us both.
“You’re beginning to see some of the trade offs.
“It is what we would expect and what we would want to see if we’re going to get agreement by October 15.”
Talks are currently deadlocked over the access of EU fishing boats to UK waters and how much state aid the Government is permitted to give businesses.
However the source admitted the two sides are still some way off an agreement.
They said: “Whilst we are beginning to get discussions of substance of some issues, big important areas remain unresolved.
“On subsidies we are asking that the EU agree with us what they have agreed with so many others in this area.
“Despite their insistence to the contrary, on fisheries their position is still a long way from the huge change we need to get an agreement.”
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