Brexit: EU states want to 'punish' UK warns Lord Digby Jones
Brussels is stunned by the UK’s defiance of EU pressure, according to Lord Digby Jones. The former CBI director general and Brexiteer told talkRADIO that there is “a degree of wanting to punish us” and “envy” among EU states in Brexit trade talks. This comes as both Boris Johnson and the EU have warned they are unlikely to reach a post-Brexit trade deal by Sunday.
Lord Jones told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I don’t think a no deal Brexit is inevitable. There is a degree of ennui about deadlines in the EU.
“It is the umpteenth deadline. The only rationale for this being the final deadline is that if it is going to be a no deal, we need time for businesses to prepare.
“Boris told his cabinet colleagues that the EU want to punish Britain. He is absolutely right.
“I’ve talked to people in Europe about this, there is a degree of wanting to punish us, there is a degree of envy that they can’t believe that Britain is standing up to them.”
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He questioned the economic sense of the EU’s tactics, adding: “They have just woken up in Europe that this is a two-way street.
“Where do Germany sell most cars that they make? Britain. More than China, more than the US.
“What is at risk on the 1st January? All of that.”
Trade talks between the UK and European Union are due to resume in Brussels today with just one day to go until a deadline imposed by the two sides.
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On Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said no deal was the most probable end to “difficult” talks.
Mr Johnson echoed this, saying the EU needed to make a “big change” over the main sticking points on fishing and competition rules.
The two leaders have set a Sunday deadline for a deal to be struck, or else face a no deal Brexit.
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The EU earlier rejected Mr Johnson’s last-ditch request to bypass the European Commission and speak directly to French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel about the unresolved issues.
The Prime Minister was told discussions could only take place through the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
The Ministry of Defence have said four Royal Navy patrol boats are ready to protect UK fishing waters in the event of a no deal Brexit.
According to The Times, patrol powers will be beefed up with Navy officers allowed to board foreign vessels and arrest fishermen.
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