Brexit: ‘The need for a level playing field is not going to go away’
“Why should we give access to our roads and not have them [the UK] subject to the same rules?” Michel Barnier asked at a press conference following the seventh round of negotiations with the UK on Brexit last week.
In a statement he outlined how the UK wants access to the EU market, but does not want to adhere to minimum standards which are followed in the EU.
“Road transport is a key sector for our economies. It represents millions of jobs in Europe and it is a sector which also has a direct impact on logistical costs for our businesses; prices paid by our consumers; has a direct impact on pollution and climate change; and indeed on road safety as well,” Barnier commented.
He then described how the British negotiators do not want certain standards to apply to British carriers in the EU. Among these standards are working hours and the use of tachographs to verify the hours worked and rest times for workers.
He stated: “They [the negotiators] have refused to agree to these guarantees on the one hand, but on the other hand they are asking for a level of access to the internal market comparable to that of member states which do accept these standards and constraints.
“The UK has decided itself to leave the single market and has therefore decided to lose the benefits of the internal market. It is Britain’s choice, not ours.
Why should we give access to our roads to road transport firms which would not be subject to the same rules in terms of the minimum standards and safety?
Barnier described how this would create competitive distortions directed against our companies.
He continued on to say that “we are prepared to compete with British companies, provided that this competition is fair”.
He also stated that the EU offers a market of 450 million citizens and “the need for a level playing field is not going to go away”.