Europe

BREXIT BOMBSHELL: Macron now demands Britain KEEPS freedom of movement in a customs union

Paris’ move will come as a heavy blow to the Prime Minister’s effort to strike a cross-party deal with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Mrs May is expected to deliver a detailed presentation to EU leaders on her cross-party talks at the emergency Brexit summit in Brussels this evening. But Mr Macron will immediately crackdown on any effort to cherry-pick from the single market, even demanding Britain maintains freedom of movement in certain circumstances.

He will demand any alterations to the political declaration on the future relationship must “retain the EU’s autonomy of decision making and integrity of the single market”.

If Britain wants access to the EU’s market, the French President will be expected to demand that the bloc’s four freedoms – free movement of people, money, goods and services – are respected.

On the cross-party talks, an EU official said: “If it means a customs union, France is adamant that the invisibility of the single market’s four freedoms remains intact.”

France is a staunch opponent of the Irish backstop, which features a UK-wide customs union and allows Britain free access into the EU’s single market with minimal alignment to its rules.

Paris will also seek to limit Britain’s presence in the EU by stripping voting rights and even its European Commissioner.

EU officials have claimed Paris is preparing to table a proposal that would see Britain renounce its right to veto any decisions made during an extension of the EU’s Article 50 exit clause.

France’s move comes amid an insistence that Britain should not be allowed to meddle in any EU decision-making, which includes the bloc’s next multi annual budget.

An EU source familiar with the discussions said France will insist on “no veto and no participation in blocking minorities” during the extension.

Paris will also attempt to include that “UK will not obstruct decisions taken at 27” as part of the European Council conclusions this afternoon.

Britain as an EU member has the right to chose whether or not to send a Commissioner to Brussels during the extension, according to a source.

This means Paris could pressure Mrs May into a gentleman’s agreement not to do so.

But others across the EU have cast doubt on whether this would be legally enforceable while Britain is still a member of the bloc.

One senior diplomat said: “If Theresa May sees sincere cooperation as the UK not involving itself in decision-making or standing in the way, we will be satisfied.”

They added that the EU could organise meetings of the 27 while Britain is a member of the bloc in order to reach decisions, but they would have to be signed off.

“We will continue to meet as 27 on all of these issues, the EU treaties do not prevent us from doing that,” they said.

“There are often discussions involving smaller groups of member states – such as the Euro Group or Schengen countries. But to decide we would have to involve Britain.”

Source: Read Full Article