The U.K. will not “accept level playing field provisions” that keep the country in step with Brussels, U.K. chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said in comments published today, insisting London was not “scared” of leaving the transition period without a trade deal.
“We are not going to be a client state,” Frost said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. ‘We are not going to accept level playing field provisions that lock us in to the way the EU do things; we are not going to accept provisions that give them control over our money or the way we can organize things here in the U.K. and that should not be controversial — that’s what being an independent country is about.”
Brexit talks, which begin an eighth round on Tuesday, are stalled on a number of important issues from fish to state aid, but both sides have said they want a deal by the end of the transition period in December.
“We came in after a government and negotiating team that had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments and the EU had learned not to take our word seriously,” Frost told the Mail on Sunday. “So a lot of what we are trying to do this year is to get them to realize that we mean what we say and they should take our position seriously.”
Frost’s comments come on the heels of British press reports claiming the EU’s negotiating lead Michel Barnier will be sidelined in the final phase of talks. The reports were promptly rejected by German officials in Brussels and by France’s Europe Minister Clément Beaune, who dismissed the claims as fake news and tweeted “Keep calm and support Michel Barnier.”