The comments by the Czech Secretary of State for European Affairs Ales Chmelar came as round two of the Brexit talks began in Brussels today.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said that the talks over four days this week will tackle the “substance” of the divorce arrangements including the EU’s ludicrous exit bill demands, citizens rights and Irish border with Northern Ireland.
However, Mr Chmelar’s remarks reflect growing frustration among governments of EU member states that the Commission’s negotiating team led by Michel Barnier is obsessing with “technicalities” and not getting on with setting up a trade deal.
Last week it was revealed that Mr Barnier had been given a dressing down by French President Emmanuel Macron and other heads of government over the failure to discuss trade.
Ales Chmelar said Britain can get a ‘broad and deep’ trade deal after Brexit
We are now getting into the substance of the matter
Mr Chmelar said that a “much broader, much deeper” free trade deal with the European Union can be agreed with the UK after Brexit than the one recently signed off with Canada.
However, he suggested that Britain may have to pay for the deal.
Former cabinet minister Owen Paterson dismissed suggestions the UK could pay for access to the European market but said it was “screamingly obvious” that reciprocal free trade without tariffs was in both the UK’s and EU’s interests.
“If you want to pay for access to a market, you pay a tariff,” the Tory MP told the programme.