The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Brexit talks will be like the Greek bailout, PM Muscat says in Politico interview

Monday, 3 October 2016, 18:10 Last update: about 4 years ago

In an interview with Politico, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat likened the upcoming Brexit talks with the Greek bailout, saying that the UK has little chance of getting its way.  

British PM Theresa May will invoke Article 50, which will kick off the process for Britain to leave the EU, during Malta’s presidency of the EU.

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“Expect the format to be more or less like what happened with Greece,” Muscat told his interviewer, referring to how the EU’s member countries approached Greek bailout negotiations in 2015.

Dr Muscat said any deal with the UK had to be fair but at the same inferior to full membership. He said member states will insist that the UK lose EU privileges if it stops participating in the single market or freedom of movement policy. “Even the most pro-U.K. countries — Netherlands, Estonia, Ireland — say you cannot have your cake and eat it.”

The PM told Politico that the UK’s and the EU’s expectations on how the negotiations will unfold are very different.  “From my discussions with the UK government they seem to want [to negotiate by] chapters. They want to look at single market, at sovereignty, at freedom of movement, at transposition of EU laws. The feeling I get is that is unacceptable to most member states. They want the single market and freedom of movement to be tackled together.”

Dr Muscat said Malta’s position is that “the four freedoms cannot be decoupled” from each other in the process. Theresa May has said that Britain “will do what independent, sovereign countries do — decide for ourselves how we control immigration.”

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