Ms von der Leyen later stressed the importance of a level playing field for social and environmental standards in addition to taxation, adding that free movement for goods, capitals and services also means free movement for people. “So it’s the choice of the UK how far they want to align or diverge. But this is decisive for how good the access to the single market will be or not. In short, You cannot have the cake and eat it at the same time.”
Access to EU market decided by UK willingness to align
An estimated 33% of the European fishing fleet catches are fished in British waters. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists on Britain “maintaining control of these UK fishing waters” after it leaves the EU, he said in his first meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who took office in December. The two are discussing the negotiations after Brexit, on January 31, with Johnson wanting a trade deal with the EU completed by the end of 2020 without Britain aligning with EU rules. He said the UK wanted “a broad free-trade agreement covering goods and services and co-operation in other areas”. With regards to fishing rights the two sides have committed to negotiating a new framework in place by 1 July although EU spokespersons believe that talks will go deep into the year due to its complexities.