Michel Barnier shoots down Theresa May’s Brexit customs plan.
Michel Barnier effectively killed off Theresa May’s customs plan in Brussels on Thursday as he warned that the European Union would never accept British officials collecting duties on its behalf after Brexit.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator refused to accept that Britain had “evolved its position” and he offered no concessions in return for the Prime Minister’s soft Brexit plan, which led to the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson after crunch Cabinet talks at Chequers.
Instead, he said that the UK could still join “a customs union”, which would mean Britain could not make its own trade deals after Brexit.
The Prime Minister’s White Paper, which squeaked through Parliament by a handful of votes, calls for Britain to sign up to a common rulebook and customs arrangements with Brussels as if the UK and EU were part of the same customs territory. British customs officials would collect duties on goods imported to the UK but destined for the EU.
“The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy, of its rules, VAT and excise duty collections to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures,” Mr Barnier said after meeting the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab in Brussels following the latest week of Brexit negotiations.