Britain’s new position in the European Union’s market cannot be cheaper, or better than that of countries that are full members of the trading bloc, a spokesman for Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Thursday.
“The message is the same: There can be no cherry picking and the new situation for the United Kingdom cannot be better or cheaper for them than it is for the countries within the EU,” said Michel Reijns.
Dijsselbloem himself told the Times of Malta, in an interview published on Thursday, that Britain would end up outside the EU single market after Brexit, even though it should be able to secure deals to continue trading in it — at a price.
Dijsselbloem, who also chairs the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, was quoted as saying that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was wrong to tell Britons that “everything is going to be hunky dory and that it will be a win-win situation”.
“I am absolutely sure that this is not going to be the outcome,” he said. “The outcome will be that the UK is outside the internal market.
“Of course, we can design new agreements to allow them to enter the internal market and to allow trade to continue. We have to do that. But it will not be as easy or as cheap as it is now.
“The economic reality will be that, if you are not fully part of an internal market, then you will have extra costs to do business,” Dijsselbloem said. “There will be hindrances, there will be tariffs in some cases.”
Dijsselbloem, who regularly describes himself and his free-trading nation as natural allies of Britain in European affairs, said the EU would have greater leverage in negotiations with London as a much smaller proportion of the bloc’s trade was at stake in the Brexit talks than was the case for Britain.
Source: Reuters (Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Kevin Liffey)