Brexit negotiations have finished a second full day of face-to-face talks in London, but there has been neither a “breakthrough nor a breakdown”, according to Downing Street. Katarina Barley, the Fourth Vice-President of the European Parliament, discussed the negotiation discussions on BBC Newsnight. She got into a tense confrontation with Kirsty Wark as the host accused the EU of not being “reasonable” about their demands.
Ms Barley told her: “I heard you saying the EU wants this and the EU wants that. It’s not about the EU wanting anything, it’s about the UK wanting to stay more or less in the Common market.
“If the UK wants to be part of the Common market, it has to fulfil certain criteria.
“That is all we are asking for. If you want to leave without a deal, leave without a deal, just fine with us.
“But if you want to stay in the Common market, you have to stick to the rules. It’s as easy as that, and always has been.”
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‘If the UK wants to be part of the Common market, it has to fulfil certain criteria.’
The BBC presenter hit back: “Isn’t it reasonable for a country leaving the EU not to have to be in the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice?
“Not to have to mirror the labour laws, environmental protocols going forward?
“Isn’t that reasonable to take back control at that level?”
The involvement of the European Court of Justice to settle disputes in the future is one of the EU Commission’s big demands.
Katarina Barley, the Fourth Vice-President of the European Parliament
The German MEP admitted that the concern was reasonable but added that this meant the UK could definitely not be part of the Common market.
She explained: “If you said you don’t want to be part of the Common market, then just stick to your rules, that’s absolutely fine with us, but you don’t.
“What the UK is trying to do is get the benefits of the Common market, without sticking to the Common rules. That won’t work.”
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Negotiations of future EU-UK partnership
Ms Barley added that the EU “loves the UK”, but members are “not idiots” as there was “no point” for the union to concede to that demand.
The MEP warned that the two negotiating sides are still “quite far apart” even as talks have been winding up.
She offered further insight, saying that fisheries dispute can be “solved”, but the level playing field term was “all or nothing”.
A fifth round of talks will go ahead as planned next week, with another round scheduled for August unless agreed otherwise.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said the UK was continuing to engage with the EU constructively.