BRUSSELS • European Union (EU) chief negotiator Michel Barnier ramped up the pressure on UK’s Theresa May a week before a crucial summit, telling her she still needs to face up to the cold realities of Brexit as he ruled out some of her biggest demands.
In a blunt response to May’s speech earlier this month, in which she set out her post- Brexit vision, Barnier said the prime minister still didn’t get that the EU wouldn’t accept her having the best parts of EU membership if she didn’t play by the bloc’s rules. The Frenchman’s curt remarks expose the vast divisions between the two sides with a year to go before the UK leaves the bloc.
“It’s time to face up to the hard facts,” Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
“Clearly you can’t have the status of a third country and ask for the advantages of partnership” with the EU. Earlier in the Parliament debate, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (picture) demanded May give more detail about how the UK sees its relationship with the EU after Brexit.