The European Commission indicated last month it could shut the UK out of sensitive briefings following warnings the UK could be a threat to trade deals post-Brexit.
In a briefing with Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the Commission warned there needs to be a “discussion about the treatment of sensitive information in the context of certain trade negotiations, to which the UK would continue to have access to while it remained a full member of the union.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman yesterday hit back at the claims and said Britain would not allow being frozen out of any trade discussions before it leaves the bloc. “While we’re members of the European Union we would expect our obligations but also our rights to be honored in full,” the spokesman said.
The crux of the issue lies with the Trade Policy Committee, where representatives from the 28 member states meet weekly to discuss ongoing or planned negotiations.
t is thought the UK could be barred to stop it gaining any advantageous information
Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, the formal two year process to leave the EU
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According to a new index, the EU27 countries fall into three groups: hard-core, hard and soft. These are the countries with the highest scores which indicate a fairly strong opposition to Britain’s position
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France has the highest score in the index at 32.5
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The Commission, which regularly negotiates trade deals for members, sits in on meetings to give updates to the status of talks.
But it is thought the UK could be barred to stop it gaining any advantageous information which it can use when striking its own deals outside the bloc, according to Politico.
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The UK has already extended overtures to a number of countries, including Commonwealth members and the Gulf States, over laying down preparatory work to strike a trade deal soon after the UK formally exits the EU.
The EU concluded a trade deal with Australia earlier this week, one of the countries London is eyeing up to strike a trade deal with.
The EU concluded a trade deal with Australia earlier this week
The treatment of sensitive information in the context of certain trade negotiations
Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, the formal two year process to leave the EU, at the end of March meaning the UK should be free from Brussels' rule by 2019.
But in anticipation of the UK leaving, the Commission confirmed concerns had been raised by the remaining 27 members over Britain's position on the trade talks.
Despite the grey area surrounding the issue, it is unclear whether the UK can legally be excluded from the meetings while it is still a member of the EU.
A spokesman for the Government said: "The U.K. remains a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations that entails and we will continue to play our full role.”
The crux of the issue lies with the Trade Policy Committee