The EU will be unashamedly “political” in Brexit talks Croatia’s prime minister, Andrej Plenković, whose country is taking over the presidency of the EU, has revealed. Asked whether the EU would use its power to switch off London’s ability to access European clients, Mr Plenković said: “I wouldn’t go into the vocabulary of weapons but what I have learned in international and European negotiations is that all arguments and considerations are treated as political.”
Meanwhile, a Brussels insider said the EU’s demands would be unprecedented adding: “We have to go well beyond the baseline provided in US cooperation or the more recent Swiss practice.”
The senior EU diplomat said: “Financial stability requires both sides to quickly agree an equivalence framework.
“And whilst the preference of the industry to continue on the same basis EU member states will need to be absolutely sure there is a level playing field with appropriate governance.”
The EU has already demanded access to UK fishing waters after Brexit, but an expert has warned Brussels could also insist for “preferential access to UK labour markets”.
David Henig, the director of the UK trade policy project at the European Centre for International Political Economy, said: “Apart from access to UK fishing waters and level playing field conditions typical of trade agreements we have heard little from the EU about their price for preferential UK access or equivalence, which given they are the larger market, could be high.
“Options such as preferential access to UK labour markets and deeper ties to the EU regulatory system are bound to be considered.”
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Brexit latest: The EU will use London’s access to its markets as a bargaining chip in talks
11.30am update: Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis claims Brexit campaign had “racism at its heart”
The shadow treasury minister, who is struggling to secure the support of MPs needed to make it onto the ballot paper, said politicians like Nigel Farage had used Brexit to “divide our communities”.
Mr Lewis said: “I think part of the Brexit campaign, and part of the undertone of Brexit, from some politicians, Nigel Farage and others, had racism at its core and its heart.
“They used it as a mechanism to divide our communities, to divide our country.
“How many people of colour woke up on the day after the referendum with a sense of dread because of what had happened?
“Ultimately our country had chosen to listen to Boris Johnson, someone who has a track record of racist commentary, of giving credence to racism.”
10.30am update: Emily Thornberry savaged over anti-Brexit stance by BBC’s Andrew Marr
BBC’s Andrew Marr confronted the Labour frontbencher on her anti-Brexit position, suggesting it might be the reason why she is struggling to get support in the Labour leadership race.
He said: “Let me put to you a theory as to why you might have been in some trouble which is that you were, above everybody else, probably most associated with the Remain campaign around Brexit.
“You were the person who said this is a Remain party and we’re going to prove that Britain is a Remain country.
“And, of course, exactly the reverse happened. Perhaps on this issue, you’re just out of touch.”
Ms Thornberry replied: “My view was that you couldn’t have a general election over one issue, that’s basically a referendum, that was Boris Johnson should have done – and we should have held him to account and we should have said yes, let’s get Brexit done, let’s have a referendum and let’s find out if people like your deal and then once we had done that and people had decided one way or the other, then you have a general election.
“But by doing what we did, we let him wrap himself up in the lie that he could get Brexit done without a referendum and he got five years in power as a result of it.”
9.30am update: Ireland’s Simon Coveney says EU will not be rushed in Brexit talks
The Irish foreign minister said the EU would not be rushed in negotiations with Britain to thrash out their post-Brexit relationship after Boris Johnson drew a red line on extending the transition period.
Mr Coveney told the BBC: “The European Union will approach this on the basis of getting the best deal possible – a fair and balanced deal to ensure that the UK and the EU can interact as friends in the future – but the EU will not be rushed on this.”