By Agence France-Presse
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday undermined a key part of Britain’s plan to quit the bloc, warning that London cannot expect to remain in parts of the single market.
In an address to the European Parliament, Juncker said he respects Britain’s decision to leave.
“But we also ask the British government to understand that someone who leaves the union can not be in the same privileged position as a member state,” warned the head of the EU’s executive arm.
“If you leave the union you are of course not part of our single market and certainly not only in parts of it,” he said, to a round of applause from the lawmakers in Strasbourg.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s so-called Chequers plan for Brexit would see Britain retain access to the market for trade in goods under a “common rulebook” with the remaining members.
But European negotiators say membership of the single market is indivisible from accepting EU regulations, meaning Britain would have to negotiate a trade deal as an outsider.