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The fuel shortage in Britain is a ‘direct consequence’ of the UK leaving the EU, according to the European Union’s Brexit Negotiator.
Due to the fuel crisis, which has seen cars queueing for petrol stations and petrol supplies running dry, the government has even enlisted the British Army to be on standby to assist.
Boris Johnson met with senior officials and ministers yesterday, September 27, to discuss the latest update as to the crisis, which was spurred on not by a shortage of fuel, but instead a shortage of tanker drivers and members of the public panic buying petrol.
However, the crisis of a lack of lorry drivers and resultant supply chain issues, has since been attributed directly to the UK‘s decision to leave the European Union, according to EU Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier.
Barnier stated that ‘part of the answer’ to why the fuel crisis had occurred was ‘linked, effectively, to the consequences of Brexit because the UK chose to end the freedom of movement [of people]’, The Independent reports.
While promoting his new book, My Secret Brexit Diary, at the London School of Economics as part of a virtual event, he commented that there was a ‘clear link’ between Brexit and the lack of truck drivers.
The French politician said:
In addition to the freedom of movement, the UK choosing to leave the single market – that means that the UK decided to rebuild, for the very first time, non-tariff barriers between the EU and the UK. It is a direct and mechanical consequence of Brexit.
He told BBC’s Newsnight the ‘only way to find a solution for all the problems created by Brexit’ was to make sure the protocol in Northern Ireland was not dropped. Barnier claimed that when Johnson negotiated the Brexit deal with the EU, he ‘knew exactly what he signed’. ‘What creates problems in Ireland is Brexit, nothing else,’ he said.
In his fight to become France’s next president, representing the Republicans, who fall centre-right on the political spectrum, Barnier has been criticised for his adoption of Eurosceptic expressions.
Earlier this month in Brussels, he declared that now is the time France should ‘regain sovereignty’. He also sought a referendum that would see a suspension on immigration to the country, from anywhere outside of the European Union, lasting five years.
Leo Varadkar, the former Irish premier, who is currently the country’s trade minister, also attributed Brexit as being a root cause of the UK’s fuel crisis.
On Monday, he said that due to having ‘left the single labour market’, the UK’s decision over Brexit was what had caused gas stations to close and also ‘concerns about products getting to them by Christmas’.
I think some of the difficulties that are being experienced in Northern Ireland are less about the protocol and more about Covid and Brexit, but they’re all getting wrapped into one and the protocol is being blamed.
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s replacement, Olaf Scholz, expressed how ‘very hard’ they had worked to ‘convince the British to not leave the union’.
In reference to the shortage of tanker drivers, he said he hopes the UK will manage the problem, which he sees as coming as a direct result of the country’s decision to leave the EU.
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