“Short break from intense [EU/UK] negotiations in London,” Barnier tweeted on Thursday, adding: “Went looking for level playing fields...” Alongside his coy message, Barnier attached a photo of himself supposedly standing in front of said “level playing field.”
The French politician’s jab at the UK was likely a reference to their disagreement over the EU’s demands for fair competition clauses in the upcoming agreement. The issue has turned into one of the biggest obstacles in the negotiation process, as it would effectively keep a post-Brexit UK subject to some of the bloc’s regulations.
The response to Barnier’s tweet aptly reflected the polarization over the issue.
Some fully agreed with Barnier’s take on the Brexit process and were “sorry” about the roadblocks Brussels was facing, while one commended his “perseverance.” Another contributed her own football field metaphor, tweeting: “Sadly, the opposing team is hellbent only on scoring own goals.”
Barnier’s critics were no less poetic, with many of them saying that the EU’s idea of a level playing field was more like a mountain chain or even a swamp. “You won’t find any level playing fields here in the UK,” replied one of them, adding, “We know it’s just your fancy term to keep the UK uncompetitive.”
The UK and the EU were supposedly in some of the “final stages” of Brexit trade talks this week. A deal, possibly coming next week, might just finalize the process.
It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.