New Brexit red tape causing friction at Britain’s borders are an “obvious and inevitable” part of leaving the EU and are here to stay, former chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.
Barnier said businesses could expect to overcome “glitches, problems, and breakdowns” caused by new paperwork in the weeks and months ahead but warned that other things have “changed for good” as a result of Brexit.
The French politician also insisted the UK will not be able to rewrite structural changes that have led to checks on agricultural exports, telling the FT: “This agreement will not be renegotiated, it now needs to be implemented.
“There are mechanical, obvious, inevitable, consequences when you leave the single market and that’s what the British wished to do.”
Barnier said Brussels would be “vigilant on all fronts” in policing the UK’s implementation of the deal.
The comment comes as No 10 comes under fire over the damaging effects of Boris Johnson’s trade deal on the UK fishing industry.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said one skipper in his Moray constituency had found the value of his catch had fallen to “half of what he needs to cover his costs” as a result of the deal and demanded compensation.
Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, said fishermen in Cornwall were “very disappointed” by the agreement and feared they would “benefit little” from it.
Other MPs complained of an “avalanche of paperwork” and “cumbersome red tape” faced by seafood companies.
But environment secretary George Eustice dismissed the difficulties faced by fishermen as “teething problems” and blamed some blockages on European bureaucrats.
“Many of these are quite trivial, about where the stamp is,” he told the Commons. “We’ve even had questions raised about the colour of the ink that is used on the forms, the pagination, the way pages are numbered and so forth.”
Eustice said he would continue meeting industry stakeholders, adding: “Once people get used to using the paperwork goods will flow normally”.