Senior EU officials who have seen a draft of Theresa May’s Brexit Plan called it unrealistic and said that it is impossible for the UK to change European founding principles.
EU sources said that May’s white paper is predicated to recommend that the UK indefinitely stay in a “single market” for goods after Brexit and lift restrictions on the movement of people at the Irish border.
“We read the white paper and we read ‘cake’,” an EU official stated in a report. After the British EU referendum, “cake” has been included in the Brussels wordlist as a description of anything deemed to be unrealistic or far-fetched demand.
This word stemmed from a Boris Johnson’s one-liner of being “pro having [cake] and pro-eating it”.
Jean-Claude Piris, a former head of the EU Council’s legal service, said that EU would never break the “four freedoms – free movement of goods, services, capital and people” which are sustaining the bloc’s internal market.
“The EU is in difficulties at the moment; the one and only success which glues all these countries together is a little bit the money and the internal market,” Piris said. “If you fudge the internal market by allowing a third state to choose what they want … it is the beginning of the end.”
Theresa May is hoping that EU leader would accept her recommendations warmly.
However, Spain’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell stated that “Germany will say no, France will say no, Spain will say no.” He also described Brexit as “a pain in the ass” and added that an “angry” France and Germany would turn down these plans.
The UK government finds EU guilty of “cherry-picking”. For example, they demand the status quo on fishing quotas in exchange for exemptions on tariffs.
Furthermore, UK officials consider having a single market in industrial goods is a huge advantage for the EU which exports a surplus of manufactured products to the country.
Jean-Claude Piris disagrees and states, “It is in their short-term economic interest, but it is a short-term myopic view, it is not what the leaders of the EU will do.”