Comments by EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier

  • EU, UK must agree on level playing field
  • EU offer is conditional on open, fair competition
  • UK financial services will no longer have passporting rights
  • Free trade agreement must include deal on fisheries

It is part of his job to try and ensure that both sides walk away from this deal with what they want, after offering up the necessary concessions. But his main job is to make sure that those concessions are coming from the UK side instead.

Essentially, whatever is being put on the negotiating mandate runs against the principles that the UK wants to be applied to the trade deal i.e. rules alignment, market access and even the deal on fisheries if you really want to be picky.

In short, if both sides are going to play ball, there has to be significant concessions made. Otherwise, if they stick to their guns, we're going to waste a lot of time dragging our feet on something that will never be close to being agreed upon.