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The EU has “no reason to be scared” of post-Brexit Britain’s approach to state aid, a former MEP has said. Daniel Hannan spoke to talkRADIO about how a trade deal might be able to be agreed as soon as next week. The Conservative warned it would require movement on the EU’s part in order to achieve an agreement by the transition period deadline.
He told listeners: “One outstanding issue is the question of state aid.
“If it were only state aid, by the way, it would be easy, but it’s the whole.
“The EU has not completely dropped the demand that they want to have some kind of continuing oversight of our rules on employment law, environmental protection and all the rest of it.
“There is a deal to be done on the same basis as the fisheries one, which is that our sovereignty can’t be bargained with.”
Mr Hannan continued: “We’re not going to start handing away our democratic right to self-rule.
“But we can probably give assurances that our state aid regime is going to be less distorted than most of the continental ones.
“Historically we have spent a lot less on subsidising companies than Germany and France have so there’s no reason for them actually to be scared of anything.
“What we can’t accept is that, having left the EU, we are still a sort of semi-colony and we have to ask for Brussels’ permission to do things.”
The former MEP added: “No other country in the world requires those kinds of assurances as part of a trade deal.
“When we do our trade talks with New Zealand or Canada or Japan or any other country, it will be unthinkable for them to say: ‘before we even talk about trade, we want you to give us access to your fish, we want us to have a perpetual veto over what you do in terms of your regulation’.
“That is not how equal sovereign countries treat each other.”
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If an agreement isn’t made within the week it may not give enough time for ratification by member states before transition period deadline.
However, a deal could be rushed through via ‘provisional application’, which would put it in place before ratification.
Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU are continuing via video conference this week.
The talks were shifted online last week when an EU official tested positive for coronavirus.
Both sides have indicated that further in-person meetings are needed to resolve any outstanding issues.
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