The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier wants to make giving the UK a good transition deal conditional on Britain’s “automatic” acceptance of new Brussels regulations during the likely two-year period after March 2019, leaked documents show.
This would mean Britain had no say over rules made during the transition period but would have to accept them.
The MEP and former leader of Ukip, Nigel Farage, told Express.co.uk: “Here is another set of unreasonable demands from Barnier making no deal seem more attractive.
“The European Commission are clearly not interested in genuine negotiations.
“It’s would better for us to walk away and save a lot of time.”
The demand, should it materialise, is almost certain to enrage other hardline Brexiteers such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary as well as other Eurosceptics such as Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg – all of whom are against any sort of transitions deal and want a clean break with the EU.
The leaked papers, which consist of a presentation drawn up by Mr Barnier for the EU 27’s representatives, and seen by The Independent, say any UK transition out of the EU must involve the “automatic application in the UK of new EU rules post-30 March 2019”.
Mr Barnier states Britain would have “no institutional rights, no presence in the institutions” and “no voting rights” under his plan, meaning the UK would end up following rules made in the interests of the remaining member states and even incorporating them into British law with no control of how they are formed.
As the talks have not yet moved on to the second stage of the Brexit talks no conflict – so far – has arisen as the EU has firmly said it will not discuss future arrangements on a possible transition period or trade until the three withdrawal issues have made “sufficient progress”.
But the leaked document clearly reveals the antagonistic line the EU intends to take in the ongoing talks.
Mr Barnier said in September hat “any transition has to respect the regulatory and financial framework of the single market” and that the UK would have to continue to follow EU rules, but did not touch on the aspect of new laws written during any transition period.
In her key speech in Florence, the Prime Minister said that a transition, or “implementation” period, would be governed by “the existing structure of EU rules and regulations”.
But Mr Johnson indicated in a interview ahead of Conservative conference with The Sun that it would be a “red line” of his that the UK accept no new regulations during the transition.
He said: “You heard the Prime Minister say very clearly in Florence that she envisages the transition period being run under existing arrangements – that was the phrase she used, ‘The existing rules’.”
Former advisor to Nigel Farage, Annabelle Sanderson, said the deal was “bad news for Britain and bad news for democracy.”
“We voted to leave the EU in its entirety: no ifs, no buts.
“One of the key reasons was the mountain of draconian rules which harm our businesses and hit us in the wallet. To have another two years tied to this economically backward bloc, stopping us from trading with the rest of the world and paying in billions is a slap in the face to the 17.4 million people who want this country to be independent. It’s also bad news to the countries across the world we could be trading including developing countries the EU likes to hold back.
“I understand why the EU is terrified of global trade: it would mean they would have to buck up instead of hiding behind the socialist dream of their endless regulations. But why is Theresa May and the UK negotiating team being so weak? This needs to be kicked out of play and the EU needs to be shown by this government that negotiations are two way.”
The leaked documents come after Prime Minister Theresa May continued to gain EU approval to move the talks on to the second phase.
She met Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council on Friday as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an attempt to get her £40bn “divorce bill” offer accepted as well as deal with the Irish border issue.
The issue of the Irish border is particularly difficult for the Prime Minister politically because the Northern Irish DUP is propping up Ms May’s majority in the House of Commons – and has used its conference to make clear it will not accept the province remaining part of the customs union.