The proposal Theresa May is presenting Friday — dubbed a “facilitated customs arrangement” — calls for the U.K. to use technology at its borders to determine whether goods are bound for Britain or the EU, and charge the appropriate tariffs. It would also commit Britain to keeping its regulations closely aligned to those of the EU for trade in goods and agricultural productions — but not in services, which accounts for the bulk of Britain’s economy.
Michael Gove “physically ripped up” an official report on future customs options with the EU in anger after believing his concerns had been underplayed. Brexiteers oppose a customs partnership with the EU, which would see the UK collect tariffs set by the EU customs union on goods entering the country on behalf of the bloc.
The Cabinet minister was “livid” and “physically ripped” the document in two at a meeting on Wednesday evening with civil servants to “show he wasn’t prepared to accept the document as a summary of their discussions”, the newspaper added.
The European Union’s chief negotiator urged Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday to come up with “workable” proposals for Brexit and overcome “huge and serious” differences to prevent Britain from crashing out of the bloc without a deal. “Now we are waiting for the UK white paper and I hope it will contain workable and realistic proposals. But let me mention once again that the time is very short,” EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier said.
Pro-Brexit politicians and business figures have urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to be ready to walk away from the European Union without a trade agreement, despite warnings from major manufacturers that a “no deal” Brexit would be an economic disaster. “Brexit is not a done deal. Brexit is not inevitable. Brexit can be stopped,” Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable told the crowd.
Big companies are sounding the alarm bell, with plane making giant Airbus this week threatening to pull out of the country, where it employs 14,000, if it gets no clarity on future trade deals. “Thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs are now on the line because of the shambolic mess the government have created over the Brexit negotiations,” said Darren Jones, the lawmaker for the community where Airbus has its plant.
“I am convening an informal working meeting on migration and asylum issues in Brussels on Sunday, in order to work with a group of Heads of State or Government of Member States interested in finding European solutions ahead of the upcoming #EUCO (European Council),” Juncker said on Twitter.