Setting out the EU’s demands for the proposed transition period after the official departure date in March 2019, the chief Brussels negotiator warned that the UK will have to accept any new regulations introduced by the European Commission while being banned from signing any new trade deals with other countries.
The veteran diplomat said: “The UK must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset.”
EU citizens could still be free to come to Britain until the end of 2020 under the blueprint.
Downing Street officials claimed there was still some “distance” between the two sides over the details of the immediate post-Brexit period with more negotiations to come.
Michel Barnier insisted the UK must follow EU rules during the transition period after March 2019
Mr Barnier set out the EU’s demands following a meeting of ministers from the other 27 EU nations
The UK must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset
But senior Tory MP Sir William Cash, a leading Euro-sceptic at Westminster and chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, urged the Government to reject the Brussels “ultimatum”.
Raising an Urgent Question about the negotiations in the Commons, he said the EU’s demands were “inconsistent with our leaving the European Union”.
He said: “Given that we’re leaving the EU and therefore the customs union, the single market and the provisions relating to freedom of movement, is the Government going to reject this new EU ultimatum – including that the EU court of justice will continue to apply to the UK?”
Mr Barnier set out the EU’s demands following a meeting of ministers from the 27 nations staying in the EU after Brexit.
He said: “The EU position is very clear: the transition will last for 21 months until the 31st of December 2020.
“The whole EU body of law will continue to apply to the UK, as well as the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice.”
Mr Barnier insisted Britain could not pick and choose which single market rules to obey during the transition period.
He said at a Brussels new conference: “It will continue to have all the economic benefits therefore it must also apply all the EU rules. The single market cannot be a la carte.
Mr Barnier insisted Britain could not pick and choose which single market rules to obey
“During that period the decisions will apply. And the UK must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset otherwise we would be moving towards something which we did fear for the future, divergence and a type of single market a la carte, which is not possible, certainly not during transition period, which the UK has requested.”
The EU negotiator went on to insist that the transition period will only happen if Britain agrees to an entire Brexit deal including the final divorce bill and a settlement on the rights of EU citizens living in the country.
He said: “It is all a big package. If we have no agreement on the withdrawal issues there will be no transition.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said details of the “implementation period” after Brexit would be thrashed out in the next round of negotiations.
“We are pleased that the EU has now agreed its position, which is clearly well aligned by the proposal made by the Prime Minister.”
He added: “This will be a negotiation – there will naturally be some distance in the detail of our starting position.”
In the Commons last night, Brexit minister Robin Walker rejected claims from Tory backbenchers that the transition deal effectively postponed Britain’s departure from the EU.
He said: “I want to be very clear – the UK will be leaving the EU on March 29, 2019.
1 of 17
“We will then have a strictly time-limited implementation period, which will be as short as is practicable – we currently expect that to be in the region of two years.”
Mr Walker said the UK entered the negotiations seeking to protect its interests and to exit the EU in a “smooth and orderly way”.
Nigel Farage last night raised fears that the EU Brexit transition arrangements could become permanent.
The Ukip MEP said: “The EU General Affairs Council took two minutes to decide the UK should have taxation without representation. No doubt they will be prepared to extend the ‘transition’ indefinitely.”