Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage expressed optimism for the future of a beneficial post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, in light of the Conservative government’s recent tough stance in negotiations with the bloc.
Mr Farage said that there is a “potentially good deal” in the cards, noting that it seems that British Brexit negotiators have “grown a backbone in what they’re demanding”.
The lifelong Brexiteer and frequent critic of so-called Conservative governments wrote in The Telegraph on Tuesday that he is “pleased” to “keep hearing our chief negotiator David Frost use the words ‘we will be an independent country’”.
Mr Farage said that if the rumours that the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier may be sidelined are true, “then maybe we have a realistic chance of getting a decent deal”.
“If the British are now defending the national interest, Barnier at no stage has defended the national interest of any member state, any industry or group of workers,” he wrote.
“For him, this whole negotiation has had nothing to do with Europeans, but everything to do with the power in Brussels. It was always about the EU, always about the power of the institution and not about the member states it shamelessly claims to represent,” Farage opined.
“Of course, things could still go wrong,” he noted, but added that he thinks that “it’s Michel Barnier who now appears to be in trouble”.
The European Union for its part has denied the speculation that Barnier will be ousted from the negotiating table, with French European affairs minister Clement Beaune posting a meme on Saturday that read: “Keep Calm and Support Barnier.”
Barnier Calls For EU Member States to be ‘Cold Blooded’ in Brexit Negotiations https://t.co/yTIVI7IwQC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 25, 2020
Mr Farage went on to say that the potentiality for a “good deal” has been bolstered particularly when it comes to protecting the United Kingdom’s lucrative fisheries.
“For far too long, foreign boats have been able to pillage British waters with relative impunity. French fishermen could sit on their boats and watch as once-thriving British coastal towns and communities were decimated by years of EU quotas,” he wrote.
“But now it seems like we’ve grown a backbone and are demanding that we increase our fishing quota by 50%, at the expense of EU boats – this is a good start,” Farage commented.
The arch-Brexiteer said that if the UK’s tough stance in tearing up the withdrawal agreement results in trade talks with the bloc breaking down and Britain leaves the EU with an Australian-style deal “then so be it”.
Farage Slams Project Fear Claims There Will Be Chaos at Ports After Brexit Transition https://t.co/62cfHSUHRh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 15, 2020
Farage argued that it would not take long before industries within Europe, such as car manufacturers and wine producers, will feel the pain of the loss in revenue and demand that Brussels bureaucrats “come to their senses” and negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK.
“We are at a very important moment and, despite my life-long campaign against the Conservative Party, right at this moment on Brexit, if on nothing else, I’m very much giving them the benefit of the doubt. I hope they hold firm and I look forward to January 1st, 2021,” Mr Farage concluded.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that if the two sides fail to come to an agreement by October 15th, then the UK will embark on a clean-break Brexit. Under this scenario, Britain would begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms at the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020.
“So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on,” Johnson said.
The prime minister also floated the idea of trading with the EU on a framework based upon the Australian model, saying that it “would be a good outcome of the UK”.
No Deal? Boris Set to Walk Away From Brexit Trade Talks Over EU Demands https://t.co/K4nf4Vp5ul
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 31, 2020
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