The UK could be required to follow new rules implemented by the European Union during a Brexit transition period according to leaked plans reportedly drawn up by Brussels’ chief negotiator.
The position set out by Michel Barnier would make the application of new EU rules a condition of a transitional deal, meaning Britain could be subject to further Brussels’ regulations for about two years after leaving the bloc.
Theresa May hopes to secure an implementation period between the UK’s formal exit date and the commencement of any post-Brexit trade deal in order to give businesses time to adjust to the new arrangements, but accepting the imposition of new rules could trigger a revolt by Eurosceptics.
It would also go against the approach to an implementation period set out by the Prime Minister in her Florence speech, where she said the “framework for this strictly time-limited period … would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations”.
But the Independent obtained a presentation drawn up by Mr Barnier for representatives of the 27 remaining EU members which said a transitional deal would involve the “automatic application in the UK of new EU rules post-30 March 2019”.
It also makes clear that after leaving the bloc the UK would have “no institutional rights, no presence in the institutions” and “no voting rights” – indicating that the UK would have no say over rules it would have to implement in the period.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has already indicated that accepting further regulations from Brussels would cross a red line.
He told the Sun in September: “You heard the Prime Minister say very clearly in Florence that she envisages the transition period being run under existing arrangements – that was the phrase she used, ‘The existing rules’.”
The Prime Minister wants talks on a trade deal and an implementation period to be given the green light by EU counterparts at the European Council on December 14-15.
But she has been warned by European Council president Donald Tusk that while that was possible it would be a “huge challenge”.
He has given her until December 4 to make progress on issues including the Brexit divorce bill and the thorny problem of the Irish border.