Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute for the Economic Affairs, accused the bloc of “cowardice” amid the prospect of competition on its doorstep. His comments come as negotiations between the UK and the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are continuing – with the so-called level playing field, aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the single market, a major sticking point.
But Express.co.uk readers blasted the EU, with one insisting: “The EU needs access to the UK market!”
Another fumed: “They just want the UK to fail for leaving anybody can see that they dont want to give UK anything just walk away and don’t look back.”
A third commented: “Free and open competition is a good thing, That’s why membership of the EU isn’t.”
Another reader argued: “They want us to comply with their standards just so as to restrict us, they will do whatever they can to keep control of the UK.”
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
One more commented: “How would EU keep membership intact if Britain’s economy performs brilliantly.”
It comes after Mr Littlewood claimed it was time for the bloc to be “put to the test”.
He told Express.co.uk: “The single market doesn’t really seem to be about competition any more – it seems to be about uniformity.
“The important thing is to keep out absolutely everything which does not exactly accord with every last comma of EU regulations.
“Now the EU is entirely entitled to have its own regulations but they seem to want to exclude products and services into their market for their citizens which are identikit versions of the EU-regulated products.
“And that to my mind does not speak of confidence, it speaks of a lack of confidence and even cowardice”.
Mr Littlewood added: “When the UK has opened itself up to the world in terms of global trade, obviously there will be standards imposed.
“But we have to accept into our markets products that are not regulated in exactly the same way and on the same basis as UK products.
Brexit LIVE: Frost overcomes major obstacle in negotiations [LIVE BLOG]
Brexit cave in to have EU battling for ‘existence’ amid internal chaos [VIDEO]
Finally ending EU policy celebrated as ‘chance for growth’ [INSIGHT]
“American products that come to our market are not regulated by UK agencies.”
After Brexit, the UK would be able to adopt a more flexible approach, by accepting the fact that a product had been signed off by for example a US, German, or EU agency, it was good enough for the domestic market, Mr Littlewood suggested.
He added: “And I think the EU should take the same view.
“However, unfortunately the single market over the last couple of decades has moved away from being something that removes barriers to trade and has moved on to insisting that absolutely all participants must behave in exactly the same way and under the exactly the same regulations and the same policing requirements.
“And it does seem to be that their fear is that Britain on the outside could produce cheaper products, better products, higher-quality products.
“And they would prefer that we were therefore fully encapsulated by their regulatory regime.
“If their regulatory regime is so awesome and immaculate they should have nothing to fear but it should be put to the test in an open market.”
Source: Read Full Article