In a tense press conference alongside his British counterpart David Davis after the third round of exit talks in Brussels, Michel Barnier was scathing about the UK’s approach to the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and hopes for future access to the single market.
He said some of the recent British proposals showed “a sort of nostalgia in the form of specific requests which would amount to continuing to enjoy the benefits of the single market and EU membership without actually being part of it”.
His remarks drew an acid response from Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary, who remarked that Barnier should not “confuse a belief in the free market with nostalgia”.
Over there (or, to me, over here) one can read the attitude as that free trade is some great privilege, some prize for which a toll should and must be paid to the bureaucracy. Over here (or, me, there) at least among the sensible free trade is the natural order of things and why wouldn’t everyone want it anyway, whatever the bureaucracy?
Thus some of the incomprehension here.
Of course, if that analysis is correct then we’ve really got to leave. Who wants to be run by people so wrong on something so basic?