British Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of wanting to “cherry pick” European Union benefits in her speech setting out her Brexit priorities.
While she stressed Britain will quit membership of the EU single market when it leaves the bloc, she also said she’d seek the greatest possible access to to European markets via a separate trade agreement.
The EU’s Brexit negotiator,Guy Verhofstadt was far from impressed saying May was creating an “illusion” after she outlined her plans.
“We shall never accept a situation in which it’s better to be outside of the EU, outside the single market, then to be a member of the EU. If you want the advantages of a single market, then you have to also take the obligations
We need a fair agreement, certainly not under threat”.
Sad process, surrealistic times but at least more realistic announcement on #Brexit. EU27 united and ready to negotiate after Art. 50.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 17, 2017
Some political leaders in EU have given a lukewarm reception to May’s speech in which she revealed her 12-point plan for Brexit. But in London her Brexit Minister David Davis said his job was to persuade Europe that a reciprocal deal would be best.
“Our approach is not about cherry-picking, but about reaching a deal which fits the aims of both sides. We understand the EU wants to preserve its four freedoms and to chart its own course.
Pretty much every country in the world that is not subject to sanctions has access to the single market. We will have access to the single market; the question that this is about is about the terms.”
The Brexit talks are expected to be one of the most complicated negotiations in post-World Wat Two European history. Brussels has described May’s aim of wrapping them up in two years as “ambitious”.
12 point plan
- Government to provide certainty.
- Control of own laws
- Strengthen the ties of the United Kingdom
- Prevent a hard border with Ireland
- Control immigration
- Safeguarding rights of EU citizens in UK and bloc
- Protect workers’ rights
- Free trade with European markets
- New trade deals with other countries
- A deal for science and technology research
- Sharing intelligence and co-operation on fighting crime
- A smooth, phased exit
Scottish Parliament has just voted – by a clear majority – for Scotland's place in the single market to be protected. pic.twitter.com/yQ6lujscZU— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 17, 2017