‘EU persecution continues!’ Britons furious as Barnier handed new Brexit role by Brussels
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Brussels chief Ms von der Leyen offered her former chief Brexit negotiator the new role after he was forced to retire as a full-time official. The decision was announced by European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas, who also revealed his colleague Maros Sefcovic will co-chair the UK-EU Partnership Council to settle disputes arising from the trade agreement. Mr Barnier and Mr Sefcovic will form a new EU task force charged with monitoring and enforcing the rules in the UK-EU trade and security pact.
But Britons are furious the former chief Brexit negotiator has been handed a new role that will see him remain a central part of the future relationship between the UK and EU for many years to come.
Mr Barnier repeatedly launched attacks against the UK, criticising the nation over its departure from the bloc and lashing out at British negotiators for their toughened stance on several red lines.
Express.co.uk readers have again urged Boris Johnson to tear up the agreement with the EU in a move that would see Britain revert to trading on terms set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – even though this would see hefty tariffs imposed on goods leaving and entering the country.
One person said: “When we thought it was safe, Barnier turns up again.
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“This deliberately done to cause much disruption as possible.
“WTO terms could be closer than we think.”
A second reader wrote: “So the persecution of the UK will continue from our friends and partners.
“Why am I not surprised?”
Another Express.co.uk reader commented: “If the EU want to play silly beggars, they will find that the UK has exercised it right to invoke the cancellation clause of the agreement.
“After the last four-and-a-half years of their childish antics, we are truly done with it.”
A fourth person added: “Are there any others envoys for all the other trade deals the EU has with other countries. Why just single out the UK?
“This is beginning to show that we should have left with no-deal and WTO rules.”
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Mr Barnier and Mr Sefcovic will primarily be tasked with enforcing the so-called level playing field rules for fair competition.
Under the Brexit agreement between the two sides, the EU could call for Britain to be stripped of tariff and quota-free trade if they believe there are breaches to the so-called “level playing field”.
Just last week, Mr Barnier hinted the UK could fall foul of the level playing field rules by ignoring a Brussels ban on pesticides.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Barnier said: “Congratulations Maros Sefcovic on your appointment!
“Honoured to continue at the European Commission for a few weeks, as special adviser to Ursula von der Leyen.
“I will continue working closely with the European Parliament and Council to ensure smooth ratification on the EU side.”
Mr Schinas told reporters: “The European Commission has today decided to establish a new service, which will be part of the secretariat general and support the efficient and rigorous implementation and monitoring of our agreements with the United Kingdom.
“This comes as the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, which successfully spearheaded our negotiations until the agreement was reached on Christmas Eve, will cease to exist on March 1.
“In this context, I am pleased to share that Michel Barnier has been appointed special adviser to the President.
“He will advise our President on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as on the ratification process of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“At the same time, my colleague, vice-president Maros Sefcovic will be the EU representative in the Partnership Council established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in the capacity of co-chair.”
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