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EU Council chief says UK has choice to make on Brexit

Britain has sovereign choices to make on Brexit and they will determine its future access to the EU’s internal market, European Council President Charles Michel has said.

He suggested it was now up to the British government to break an impasse on negotiations.

“The UK now has an important choice to make on its own future,” Mr Michel told the European Parliament.

“It’s not about choosing the negotiating tactics. It’s about choosing the model of their society for the future.

“Do our British friends want to regulate state aid and uphold high medical standards? If so, why not commit to them,” he said.

“Time is very short and we stand ready to negotiate 24/7, on all subjects, on legal texts. The UK has a bit of a decision to make and its their free and sovereign choice,” Mr Michel stated.

Their sovereign answer will determine the level of access to our internal market, he added.

Mr Michel said the 27 EU members were equally ready for an abrupt split in trading ties at the end of the year without a new partnership agreement to avoid tariffs or quotas from 2021.

“Brexit means Brexit, as (former British prime minister) Theresa May used to say. But Brexit also means making choices about our future relationship,” said Mr Michel, stressing the three sticking points in the trade negotiations: fishing rights, the settlement of disputes and economic fair play.

“We don’t need words, we need guarantees,” he said of the so-called level playing field guarantees for fair competition. 

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