Czech trade official: UK proposals for post-Brexit EU agreement ‘unrealistic’

UK proposals for a post-Brexit agreement with the EU are “completely unrealistic,” as Britain must grant access to workers, contribute to the bloc’s budget, and submit to legislative oversight to keep single-market access, the top Czech negotiator said.

A lack of understanding by at least some UK ministers over how the union works and unwillingness to believe what they are being told by their civil servants is contributing to contradictory statements from London, Tomas Prouza, state secretary for EU affairs in Prague, has said.

There is a very low chance for British financial institutions and other companies to keep unhindered access to the free-trade zone, said Mr Prouza.

“There’s a lot of frustration among the EU leaders, because what you sometimes hear from London is completely unrealistic”, said Mr Prouza, who leads the Czech efforts to prepare for an EU without Britain and is contact with colleagues in the UK and other EU states.

“They will have to give up on some things. The very basis of diplomacy is reciprocity, and that’s something they need to understand.”

British prime minister Theresa May has refused to declare if she will push for access to the single market. She is also given few signals on when she will trigger the start of Brexit talks, fuelling complaints from other EU members

One reason is that there is no way to skirt the EU’s ‘four freedoms’ — the unfettered movement of labour, goods, services, and capital — without facing restrictions to the trading area comprising more than half a billion people, said Mr Prouza.

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