Brexit: Airbus would suffer constraints, Barnier warns
Companies like Airbus in Flintshire face new “limitations” on parts and personnel moves between their sites in Europe, announced the chief negotiator Brexit EU.
Michel Barnier told an EU committee in Brussels that the UK could have “frictionless” trade outside the European single market and customs union.
He also said that Britain had “more to lose” the remaining 27 states, as it collapsed without agreement.
British ministers said trade would be as “frictionless as possible.”
M. Barnier made an update on Brexit from the European Economic and Social Committee, an advisory group representing employers, trade unions and other interest groups.
He stressed that the EU did not “punish” the UK for leaving the bloc, but asked whether British politicians had “understood” the EU’s position on free movement, the single market and its rules and regulations.
Brexit’s free trade treaty could lead to “very complicated” customs procedures, warned M. Barnier, British companies face day delays instead of hours on all goods exported to the EU.
A320, A330, A350 and A380 flying formationImage copyrightEPA
Airbus wings are exported from Wales to the assembly lines in France and Germany
He called the Airbus wing factory, which employs 6,000 people in Broughton, Flintshire, as the type of operation that depended on integration with continental Europe.
It attracted qualified personnel across the EU, Barnier said, and is based on EU standards to facilitate shipments of its wings to assembly lines in France and Germany.
“Trade will never be so fluid for a country that has the option of leaving the single market and the customs union,” he warned.
In January, Airbus Director of Operations Tom Williams told MEPs that the company would “enter a dangerous phase” if people and products could not be moved transparently across the EU.
He told the Treasury Committee Common Revenue that his US rivals like Boeing would be “delighted” if that happened.