‘Brexit just beginning’ EU warned by Croatian MEP as ‘destructive’ plans split bloc

Brexit is 'only the beginning' warns Croatian MEP

Addressing colleagues in the European Parliament on Friday, the Croatian MEP claimed Britons are not the only ones disappointed in the EU’s organisation and disposal of funds across member states. He warned: “We should go back to the beginning: why did the UK want to leave the EU? They were disappointed with the way this organisation functions and they are not the only ones.

“When it comes to Croatia, our citizens see how the funds from the EU are spent and they’re also shocked and disappointed.

“They’re also disappointed when they see how the tenders are implemented in the case of EU funds. Let me mention projects for waste disposals.

“In this proposal you have the old methods specifying exactly the equipment you need in order to narrow down the criteria for selection of the best tender.

“There are other examples as well. Very often you have the principle of first come first serve without taking into account of the quality of the proposal.

“Instead of becoming a tool for development, the funds have become a tool for destruction.

“Unless the EU brings his home in order, Brexit will only be the beginning.”

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The European Union said on Friday there were just hours left to strike a Brexit trade deal while Britain called on the bloc to see sense as the two sides race to prevent a turbulent finale to the Brexit crisis at the end of the month.

Both sides are demanding the other compromise amid a flurry of often conflicting messages that, variously, a deal is possible, a deal is in serious trouble or that a deal is imminent.

Several hours after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told London that there were just hours left to navigate a narrow path towards a deal, Johnson said the British door was open but that the EU should see sense and compromise.

“It’s the moment of truth,” Barnier told the European Parliament in Brussels. “There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”

Johnson said Britain would keep talking but that he would not compromise on taking back control of its laws and its fishing waters – which he sees as the fundamental point of leaving the EU.

“Our door is open, we’ll keep talking but I have to say things are looking difficult,” Johnson told reporters. “We hope that our EU friends will see sense and come to the table with something themselves – because that’s really where we are.”

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Britain formally left on January 31 after its 2016 referendum but since then, it has been in a transition period under which rules on trade, travel and business remain unchanged. That period ends on Dec. 31.

An accord would ensure that the goods trade which makes up half of annual EU-UK commerce, worth nearly a trillion dollars in all, would remain free of tariffs and quotas.

Sterling, which has oscillated to the beat of Brexit news for five years, fell as low as $1.3489 on Friday, before settling at $1.3518 at 1051 GMT, down 0.5 percent on the day.

Some EU diplomats think the rhetoric indicates a deal is being hashed out in Brussels, though Britain has cautioned that it could take until after Christmas to get a deal – if there is one at all.

Britain says the talks are stuck on two issues – the so-called level playing field and fishing – and has repeatedly said the EU has to budge or there will be no deal.

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“We have very little time remaining, just a few hours to work through these negotiations in a useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on the first of January,” Barnier said.

While Barnier said the sides were striving at an agreement, he said the 27-nation bloc would not sign a deal that would undercut its cherished single market of 450 million consumers.

Johnson will ultimately have to decide whether to accept the narrow deal on offer from the EU or risk the economic chaos – and applause from hardline Brexiteers – that walking away would trigger.

EU powers are concerned London wants the best of both worlds – preferential access to EU markets but with the advantage of setting its own rules.

Barnier said the EU needed to be able to impose trade barriers in the event the UK changes its regulations to offer substandard goods on the bloc’s market.

For fisheries, he said the bloc also wanted to be free to retaliate by curbing EU market access to UK fish products should Britain squeeze European ships out of its waters.

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