French Minister for European Affairs Nathalie Loiseau said Britain’s relationship with the bloc post Brexit has to strike a “balance between rights and obligations,” and insisted the EU27 has not set out to punish the U.K.
The U.K.’s latest proposals for its future relationship with the EU — set out in last month’s Brexit white paper — amount to “something between Norway and Canada,” Loiseau said in an interview with the BBC’s Today program, referring to models of alternative EU membership. “The problem is that the current proposal made by the British government is that it would join the benefits of Norway with the obligations of Canada, and this is not possible.”
“There has to be a balance between the rights and obligations in the relationship,” she said, reiterating the EU’s official position.
The so-called Norway model would allow a high degree of access to the EU’s single market but involves adhering to a large number of EU regulations, while the Canada model comes with a lower level of access to the bloc and entails following fewer EU rules.
The EU27 are in a “positive mood” about the negotiations, the minister also said, adding: “There has never been a sense of punishment from the 27 towards the United Kingdom.”
U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who is in Brussels today for talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, earlier this week urged Brussels to take seriously the U.K.’s latest proposals, admitting they had required “political compromises and pragmatism” on the part of the U.K.