UK hardens rhetoric ahead of trade talks with Brussels

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Pool photo by Scott Heppell/Getty Images

UK hardens rhetoric ahead of trade talks with Brussels

Setting ’hard red lines’ will make a deal ’more difficult,’ says Ireland’s PM.


2/2/20, 12:06 PM CET

Updated 2/2/20, 12:07 PM CET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to set a hard-line tone toward the EU in a speech Monday as the two sides prepare to enter the next phase of trade talks.

Setting out his demands for negotiations in a speech in London, Johnson will say the U.K. won’t accept alignment with EU legislation or accept judicial oversight from the EU’s top court, The Times reported Sunday.

After Britain left the EU on Friday with Johnson pledging a “new era of friendly cooperation,” the U.K. government over the weekend took a combative tone.

Arguing the EU cannot expect the U.K. to meet its regulatory standards, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Sunday: “We’re not going to be aligning with EU rules, that’s not on the table … The legislative alignment, it just ain’t happening.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Raab confirmed the U.K. is planning to seek a Canada-style tariff-free, quota-based trade agreement with the EU.

But he accused Brussels of having unreasonable requests, for example by demanding that trade disputes be adjudicated by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“We’re not going to have a positive agreement with the EU, that’s not going to happen,

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