The finance minister of France has said that the European Union forcefully opposes the Brexit plans of Theresa May, the British Prime Minister because they threaten the very existence of the bloc.
Bruno Le Maire said that accepting the Chequers plan of the prime minister, which would allow the United Kingdom to benefit from the single market for goods without accepting the free movement of people, would have been “suicidal.”
Last Tuesday, he informed a group of journalists that “if we give the idea that we can exit the European Union and keep all of the benefits of the single market then it is the end of Europe.”
The comments of Le Maire come days after a major dispute over the Chequers plan at a summit of the leaders of the EU that was held in Salzburg.
The blunt way the proposals of the prime minister were rejected. It prompted her to make an unscheduled TV broadcast in which she demanded that the UK be showed “respect” in the discussions.
The French government of Emmanuel Macron is said to be the main proponents of the uncompromising stance of the EU.
Explaining their position, Le Maire stated: “The British made their choice, that’s fine. Excuse me to say so brutally, but there are more important things for us than the future of the United Kingdom – it’s the future of the European Union.”
He continued: “Any decision that gives European citizens the impression that you can leave the European Union and keep all the advantages would be suicidal.”
On Wednesday, Danuta Hubner, a Senior MEP and a member of the Brexit steering group of the European Parliament’, said that the refusal of May to drop Chequers could result in a “no-deal” scenario.
In an article for the Scottish Centre on European Relations, she wrote: “It is frustrating to us that the UK has left the same unworkable arguments on the table for so long without changing them at all.”
She added: “The risk is growing that the only option to avoid a no-deal scenario will be to have a rather hollow political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship, which will accompany the withdrawal agreement.”
Hubner continued: “This outcome would not be good for either side, since that might not be acceptable to the UK parliament when it comes to its ‘meaningful vote’, or indeed to the European Parliament when it must accept or reject the withdrawal agreement.”
The ambassadors of the EU are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Wednesday evening to prepare for this outcome.
According to the Times, they will be talking about how they can make “mini-deals” with the UK in order to prevent aircraft being grounded and keep the goods flowing in the event of no-deal.
Michel Barnier the EU chief Brexit negotiator, will be meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, in Brussels on Thursday.
However, Hubner said that he needs to spend more time in face-to-face discussions with Dominic Raab, the UK Brexit secretary, in order to reach a deal.
She stated: “We have heard that the commission’s most recent conversation with UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was by phone instead of in person.”
She added: “Let us hope this is not a new trend for the remaining phase of the withdrawal negotiations.”
Hubner concluded: “It has become clear that the remaining issues cannot be resolved by civil servants and officials – political engagement from the UK is needed.”