EU parliament will seek to protect single market in Brexit talks, German MEP says

Rainer Weiland said UK cannot be ‘in and out of the single market at the same time’

German MEP Rainer Weiland, who said the softer the controls between the UK and Ireland, the stricter the controls might need to be at Schengen borders between Ireland the the EU.

German MEP Rainer Weiland, who said the softer the controls between the UK and Ireland, the stricter the controls might need to be at Schengen borders between Ireland the the EU.

 

The European Parliament, which must sign off on any deal in the Brexit talks, has a strong position on protecting the European single market, according to a senior German MEP.

Rainer Weiland, a CDU member who has been a vice-president of the European Parliament since 2009, said Britain cannot be “in and out of the single market at the same time”, signalling limited room for manoeuvre in talks on future trading arrangements.

Mr Weiland, speaking after a seminar in Dublin organised by the European Chamber of Ireland, said the European Parliament had put Irish issues as the second most important after citizens rights in the list of those on which progress was needed before the talks moved to the next stage of discussing a future EU/UK trade deal.

He expressed caution about the talks being able to progress after the December summit.

On future trading arrangements between the EU and UK, Britain has said it wants as free trade as possible after Brexit, but also that it wants to control its borders and escape the jurisdiction of the EU courts.

‘No compromise’

However Mr Weiland said that European Parliament had a very strong position on the single market, and “on the four freedoms there will be no compromise”, with the oversight of the European Court of Justice also crucial.

Weiland’s comments show the difficulty for the UK of negotiating meaningful free trade arrangements with the EU after Brexit, given its stance of wanting to abandon one of the key four freedoms – of movement of citizens –and its insistence on escaping the jurisdiction of the EU courts.

On the issue of the Irish Border, Mr Weiland pointed out the need for the EU to be certain post Brexit that appropriate controls were in place on the movement of people and goods into the single market. In relation to the Irish Border, he said that the softer the controls between the UK and Ireland, the stricter the controls might need to be at Schengen borders between Ireland the the EU.

The Schengen area applies to the other 26 member states, apart from Ireland the the UK, who allow freedom of movement without passports.