What Michel Barnier said on the UK’s Brexit position
“It is the first time an EU member state has decided to leave, and I’ll do everything for it to remain unique.”
In an exclusive interview with Prospect, Michel Barnier has warned that there will be “cherry picking” when it comes to the UK’s position post-Brexit.
Speaking to Christine Ockrent in Paris, Europe’s chief negotiator said:
“They have to realize there won’t be any cherry picking. We won’t mix up the various scenarios to create a specific one and accommodate their wishes, mixing, for instance, the advantages of the Norwegian model, member of the single market, with the simple requirements of the Canadian one. No way. They have to face the consequences of their own decision.”
Although Barnier explained that he is certainly not thinking in terms of “revenge or hardship,” he shared that EU leaders have become “anxious” about the European project following the UK’s decision to leave.
“It is the first time an EU member state has decided to leave, and I’ll do everything for it to remain unique,” he said.
Barnier also stressed that the transition period will be brief—and intimated that the EU27 plan to remain closely allied during the process.
“There is no mandate to discuss the transition period yet, but it will be short and duly framed. Prime Minister May has stated it should take two years—it cannot last longer for legal reasons.”
“But what matters is the time actually needed to negotiate our future relations. Any change in the nature or the goals of this negotiation can only be decided by the 27 EU members + 1. The 27 know it is in their interest to remain closely united as they have clearly been in the first phase. And they will remain so.”
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