EU mocks Boris Johnson for his vision of Brexit ‘independence’ which involves ‘cherry picking’ bloc benefits

PUBLISHED: 11:41 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:18 24 April 2020

Former Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Jean-Claude Juncker, former president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Former Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Jean-Claude Juncker, former president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Boris Johnson has been accused of “cherry picking” benefits of EU membership during Brexit trade negotiations, which kicked off earlier this week over videolink because of the coronavirus.

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The EU has branded Boris Johnson’s latest post-Brexit trade proposals on aviation, nuclear, justice and security cooperation as lacking “recognition” of what leaving the bloc really means for Britain.

In a statement later expected on Friday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is set to rebuff a number proposals put forward by the UK’s counterpart, David Frost. These include remaining in the EU’s crime-fighting agency Europol and altering the Passenger Name Record to include people travelling by rail and sea.


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In leaked documents, EU negotiators have labelled those demands as “not possible”, stressing that UK was “cherry picking” benefits that only member states could enjoy.

Instead, the EU will demand the UK accept jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in order to remain a “third-country” member of Europol.

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Barnier weighed in on the issue earlier this month. He said: “They [the UK] do not wish formally to commit to continuing to apply the ECHR, nor do they wish to permit the European Court of Justice to play its full role in interpreting EU law.

“This is serious. I say this is grave because if the UK’s position does not move it will have an immediate and concrete effect on the level of ambition of our co-operation.”

Barnier will hold a press conference on Brexit trade negotiations later today along chief UK Brexit negotiator David Frost.

The government has come under mounting pressure to delay Brexit talks in order to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. A staggering two-thirds of Britons backed the move in a survey this week, with half of those being Tory and Leave voters.

The government does not want a Brexit extension because of fears the UK may be left paying into EU schemes if it does not leave by December 31.

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