The EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has criticised Theresa May’s White Paper with regards to the future of businesses in the EU after a meeting of the EU27 in Brussels on Friday.
He stated that the prime minister’s plan may negatively affect the single market and put pressure on businesses.
Barnier said that he believes that the White Paper has paved “the way to constructive discussion” on some sort of agreement and questioned the practicality of her demands.
He has said that Mrs May’s demands did not coincide with the EU’s founding principles.
In light of the recent resignations in the UK’s cabinet, Mrs May hopes that her White Paper will result in a mutual agreement from both sides on post-Brexit arrangements by autumn.
The latest version of the prime minister’s White Paper suggests close ties with the EU in terms of trade but she says that Brexit will eventually end the free movement of goods but will open up new opportunities for the UK to trade with other countries.
However, Mr Barnier did not fully reject the prime minister’s White Paper proposals, he stated that “several elements” of the plan were useful. He continued by stating that his main objective for the Brexit negotiations was to keep the EU’s single market integrity intact which the UK’s proposals would have undermined.
“That is our main asset. There’s no justification for us to create additional burdens on business just because the UK wants to leave”, he stated.