The scale of Britain’s task in negotiating a successful Brexit has been underlined by a cross-party report from the French senate vowing that the UK must not be allowed leave the EU in a better-off position than it is now, and if necessary a withdrawal without an agreement has to be considered.
The report also rules out sectoral agreements giving some UK industries privileged access to the EU single market.
The document – the product of an eight-month inquiry chaired by the former French prime minster Jean-Pierre Raffarin – also vows that the talks on the UK’s future relationship with the EU cannot start until the terms of the divorce have been completed.
It also suggests that the UK will lose many of its jobs in the City since the euro area cannot allow the City to oversee euro-trading once the UK has left the EU. As many as 200,000 jobs are at stake the report says, pointing out that half of those working in the City of London are EU citizens.
The inquiry, which has taken evidence from EU negotiators, technical experts and British politicians, stresses the French senate will be vigilant to ensure the UK cannot be in a more advantageous position by being outside the EU than inside, adding this rule must apply both in the withdrawal agreement and to the agreement setting the framework for future relations between the EU and the UK. Cherry picking cannot be allowed if this means keeping the benefits of EU membership but none of its responsibilities.