EU leaders unite behind negotiating position in face of May’s “clean Brexit”
EUROPEAN leaders hit back at Theresa May’s Brexit speech on Brexit by today (Wednesday 18 January), in the European Parliament, suggesting she had helped the EU to consolidate its founding principles.
In speeches given by the prime minister of Malta and president of the European Commission, Joseph Muscat and Jean-Claude Juncker, both men outlined the priorities of the EU’s relation to Brexit and other crisis.
“Her decision to leave single market confirms that the 4 freedoms are a package and indivisible.” Joseph Muscat
Stating that Brexit was a lower priority that the refugee crisis, Muscat also said that the Tories had ensured the stability and integrity of the “four freedoms” of the European project.
Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta told the Parliament: “Brexit is not a happy event for us. We want a fair deal, but that deal needs to be inferior to EU membership.
“Her decision to leave single market confirms that the 4 freedoms are a package and indivisible.”
The four freedoms, freedom of movement for capital, people, services and goods have been the subject of fierce debate between the Tory Government and its European partners. Theresa May, the UK prime minister, has repeatedly suggested that one of the freedoms, mainly of movement of people, could be dropped to ease immigration concerns in the UK.
However, after her speech where she conceded that the UK could not remain in the single market EU parliamentarians were in a bullish mood to ensure that other countries with anti-EU movements would not be tempted to gain their concessions and risk EU unity.
“But let us not be under any illusions about the task ahead – for all.” Jean-Claude Juncker
Juncker, president of the European Commission said: “I will do all in my power to ensure that the negotiations will be according to the rules and yield good results.” He also agreed that “they” referring to the UK Government did not seem to appreciate the complexity of the trade deals.
“But let us not be under any illusions about the task ahead – for all”, he added.
The Scottish Government has been eager to appeal to the EU27, the remaining countries in the EU, for some sign of support in accession and retention of EU or single market membership. Aside from warms words and sympathy a major European player has not outwardly confirmed support for an independent Scotland joining the club.
Picture courtesy of European ParlTV
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