Britain 'could be FORCED to follow EU law for 10 YEARS after Brexit' Maltese PM blasts
Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat, leader of the EU’s smallest nation with a population of 429,000, has claimed that Brussels will force Britain to bow down to the European Court of Justice if a transitional deal is agreed.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has been pushing for a transitional deal which could last for a number of years to help the economy adapt to post-Brexit deals.
Mr Muscat claimed it was “quite obvious” that a transitional deal needed to be struck. Britain’s former ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, claimed it could take 10 years to strike a Brexit deal with the EU.
Yet Mr Muscat added: “It is not a transition period where British institutions take over, but it is a transition period where the European Court of Justice is still in charge of dishing out judgments and points of view.”
The 42-year-old refused to be drawn on how long a transitional period may last, but said it was neither in Britain nor the crumbling Brussels bloc’s interest “to try to play the game that we have very long negotiations and in the meantime have the cake and eat it”.
He added that an “unholy alliance” may form between bitter anti-Brexit MEPs who may attempt to scupper any deal, no matter “how good for fair” it was.
Mr Muscat, a former MEP, added: “We would be really playing with fire if the European Parliament is not part of the wider workings of the deal.”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has spoken privately about wanting to spite Britain by ensuring any transitional deal hurts Britain, but Muscat’s comments suggest a softening from Eurocrats who had previously ruled out a transitional deal.
He said: “What areas should be considered for transitional arrangements? I think financial services would be quite obvious but it also depends on the demands that will be put by the British Government.”
However the left-wing leader has promised to ensure Britain’s Brexit deal is not better than its existing membership with the sprawling superstate.
He said: “It would be quite stupid to settle for EU membership ourselves if it is then inferior to the Brexit arrangements. That is something that is keeping us together.”
Theresa May’s most senior MEP, Syed Kamall, has indicated that the Prime Minister must be tough with EU leaders who were determined to be make Britain suffer through Brexit negotiations.
In an article for Brexit Central, he wrote: “The UK Government may have to make it clear we will not simply accept any deal and would be prepared to walk away and settle for a World Trade Organisation relationship with the EU, even though we would prefer a tailored EU-UK deal.
“We should ask for things that would be nice to have but would not be deal breakers. The EU will do the same to the UK.”