EU negotiator: Brexit will hurt, trade won't be easy

David Davis faces calls for transitional Brexit deal at Chevening summit as businesses demand 'common sense'

There's been talk in the highly fluid political scene in Westminster of trying to explore cross-party support for a transitional phase that keeps the United Kingdom in the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Theresa May, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond have all said they want to leave the single market while still having a customs arrangement that achieves "frictionless" borders. "I am not sure whether [these points] have been fully understood across the Channel".

"I have heard some people in the United Kingdom argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits".

Warning the EU's position appeared not to have been "fully understood" by some in London, Mr Barnier said: "I have heard some people in the United Kingdom argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits".

Michel Barnier was speaking in Brussels on Thursday. "Let me be clear: these consequences are the direct result of the choices made by the United Kingdom, not by the EU".

It is not the first time Barnier has made plain he thinks the British have misunderstood the reality of Brexit. And of course no spirit of revenge. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27.

Barnier urged business to assess, with lucidity, the negative consequences of the UK's choice on trade and investment. "And prepare to manage them".

Asked about the comments, the spokesman told reporters: "We've set out our relationship that we seek ... we want a comprehensive free trade agreement and a new customs agreement which allows for trade which is as frictionless as possible".

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These four freedoms - including freedom of movement - are indivisible and there can be no exceptions for certain sectors, he insisted.

European Commission chief Brexit negotiator has rubbished the idea that Britain could have "frictionless trade" with the bloc after Brexit.

However, he also warned that a hard Brexit, involving no deal at all, would be disastrous for both sides.

Britain and the European Union must avoid a no deal situationMr Barnier added that failure to reach a Brexit trade deal would mean "a return to the distant past", with trade regulated by World Trade Organisation rules which would impose tariffs on goods.

Mr Barnier also claimed that businesses in the United Kingdom could face additional red tape - and exports of live animals and animal produce would be subject to MORE border checks.

Avoiding such a scenario requires a "climate of trust" in which the two sides strike deals to protect citizens' rights, settle the U.K.'s financial relationship with the United Kingdom and design a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, he said.

"Today we agreed in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement (with Japan), the impact of which goes far beyond our shores", European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker announced at a joint press conference with Abe and EU President Donald Tusk in Brussels.

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