Brexit will hit UK harder than EU, says Barnier

The cost of Brexit will be substantially higher for the UK than for the EU, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator said in a speech at the Eurofi Seminar in Bulgaria on 26th April.

Barnier argued that trade dependency is far higher on the UK side. “The EU27 accounts for around 50 per cent of UK export and imports. The UK market represents around seven per cent of EU exports and four per cent of imports. Some EU regions are of course more exposed to the UK than others. We will be very attentive regarding this impact.

“The UK attracts foreign direct investment to serve broader EU markets. With unavoidable friction and non-tariff barriers, some companies will need to rethink their business models.

“EU talent may find the UK to be a less attractive place. This could generate skills shortages, for instance in the health sector.

“Finally, the UK is currently covered by 750 international agreements as an EU Member State. After Brexit, the UK will have to negotiate its own agreements – not only in trade – but also, for instance, in aviation. The UK will need a new administrative capacity.”

However, said Barnier, the EU needed to accelerate reforms to build a stronger Euro area and single market. In particular, he highlighted the importance of completing the Economic and Monetary Union.

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