The European Union (EU) is set to dismiss Theresa May’s latest Brexit proposals, whereby the UK would stay inside the bloc’s Single Market whilst trying to restrict open borders mass migration in some way.
The Prime Minister has already made a long list of Brexit concessions on fishing, immigration, and trade during the “transition period” and now plans to give even more ground on financial services in a white paper to be presented at a crunch cabinet Brexit meeting this week.
Whitehall sources last month described the Single Market plan as “freedom of movement by another name”, implying immigration restrictions will be minimal.
Now, Brussels sources who have seen the forthcoming paper told The Guardian the bloc was still not prepared to compromise on any of the “four freedoms” of the market – which include free movement of people, goods, capital, and services.
“We read the white paper and we read ‘cake’,” an EU official told the newspaper, referring to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement that he was “pro having [cake] and pro-eating it” when it came to Brexit.
Last week, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said divorce talks were hampered because “huge and serious divergences remain, in particular on Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2018
The proposal for the entire UK to remain indefinitely in a single market for goods after Brexit is designed to avoid the need for checks at the Irish border – however, Brexiteers say technology could keep the border open and the issue is being manipulated to keep the entire UK tied to EU rules.
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote on Monday: “Ireland is being used by the EU to put pressure on us. Her Prime Minister supporting Belgium over England might get cheered in Irish pubs but it is not getting them anywhere in Brussels.”
He added: “What ought the Cabinet to decide on Friday? Above all it must maintain the clear negotiating line set out at the beginning: no deal is better than a bad deal, and plenty of bad deals are on offer.”
At an EU summit on Friday, the EU’s 27 leaders spent no more than 15 minutes discussing Brexit, before calling on the UK to come up with “realistic and workable proposals”.
The language was drafted in anticipation that “cake may be coming”, another EU source told The Guardian, describing low expectations of the Chequers cabinet meeting.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 22, 2018
“The real problem is that if the result of Chequers is not unambiguous, the reality is that a lot of time, the summer, will be lost. And then you are really under a heavy time constraint,” said the source. “Yes, it increases the chances of a no-deal.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis has previously said the Brexit white paper “will communicate our ambition for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, in the context of our vision for the UK’s future role in the world”.
Responding to the latest EU views on the white paper, a UK government source blasted:
“Rather than getting hot under the collar over unfounded media speculation, we’d suggest a better approach would be to wait for the white paper to be published before responding to it.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2018