Britain’s deal for leaving the European Union should be “inferior” to membership, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Wednesday, taking aim at eurosceptics who claim the UK could ‘have its cake and eat it’
Malta has just taken up the six-month rotating EU presidency and will play a role in shaping the policies of the bloc in the first half of this year.
“We want a fair deal for the UK, but that fair deal needs to be inferior to membership. We can see no situation where whatever is negotiated ends up being better than the current situation that the UK has. We for one will not engage in bilateral negotiation before the EU deal is struck,” he told reporters in Valletta during a joint press conference with Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission.
“I have rarely been at a discussion on any other subject where the 27 member states have basically the same position,” Muscat added.
Britain voted in a referendum to leave the EU in June of last year. The country’s prime minister, Theresa May, says she will trigger the formal process of negotiating its exit by the end of March.
EU officials warn they will drive a hard bargain during those talks, saying that regaining greater control over immigration will come with a price for access to the single market.
Malta will host an informal EU meeting – without Britain – to discuss the Brexit issue early next month.