Michel Barnier believes the UK “could be tempted” to distance itself from the EU’s tight regulatory standards enforced by eurocrats in Brussels.
The Frenchman, who is leading the negotiations on behalf of the EU, has been a staunch opponent of Britain’s historic decision to quit the bloc.
Mr Barnier is one of the men behind the eye-watering figures, such as £84bn, Britain will be expected to pay the EU to leave.
Speaking in Valletta, Malta, on Monday, he said: “For your work on Brexit, transparency will be key.
Michel Barnier warned Britain over lowering its standards after Brexit
The UK could be tempted to distance itself from our standards
“It will enable you to have informed discussions, reply to citizen’s questions and engage public debate. This is the reason why we want full transparency for these negotiations.”
Swapping from English to French, Mr Barnier added: “The United Kingdom has been a member of the Union for 44 years.
“Its economy is fully integrated into the Union, and thus shares our regulations. Once out of the Union, as is their choice, the UK could be tempted to distance itself from our standards, for example regarding consumer protection or financial stability regulations.
“And it’s a point that merits our collective attention. We will not have to avoid that this unavoidable divergence – that is starting at the moment from Brexit – from becoming, in one form or another, unfair competition.
“We, therefore, have to find the means, during this second period of negotiations – I hope as soon as possible, at the start of next year – to guarantee to the citizens, the consumers and the businesses of the 27 members of the Union that this future free trade agreement with the UK will not result in debasing the social and environmental standards, and the rights of consumers or create unfair fiscal competitions.”
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Prime Minister Theresa May will focus on negotiations with Brussels as she relaunches the Conservative’s election campaign.
She will claim “economic prosperity will suffer, jobs and livelihoods will be put at risk, and with them the security and peace of mind of working families” if the UK fails to secure a successful Brexit deal.
Snap election 2017: The pictures politicians may not want you to see Sat, May 27, 2017
Protests, fights and daleks, it's all happening as the politicians hit the campaign trail for the snap election
PA 1 of 48
Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign
Plotting to ramp up warnings about the high-stakes talks, she will say: “If we don’t make a success of Brexit, we won’t have the financial means to fund the public services upon which we will rely.
“Our National Health Service – the institution which is there for us at the most difficult times – needs us to make a success of Brexit to ensure we can afford to provide it with the resources it needs for the future.
“Every school in every village, town and city needs us to make a success of Brexit.”