By Marc Jones and Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday urged Britain to accept the rules of EU single market or face a potential cliff-edge exit in a year’s time.

Speaking at a London School of Economics event during a trip to a NATO summit near the UK capital, Bettel said he respected Britain’s decision to leave.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that if he wins in the general election on Dec. 12, he will take Britain out of the EU on Jan. 31.

Johnson has said he can negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU by the end of 2020, when a transition period ends, but sceptics say Britain may need more time.

Bettel cautioned that Britain could not pick and choose what it wants from the EU. Johnson has said he does not want Britain to be part of the single market and accept obligations such as the free movement of people.

“The fact is we cannot accept cherry-picking, the fact is you decided to leave,” Bettel said.

“I won’t accept that we destroy the single market. We have rules and you will have to accept these rules.”

Much could hinge on whether Johnson wins a big enough majority in the election to push through the divorce settlement he has negotiated with Brussels, Bettel said.

Brexit was becoming a “poison” for society and Britain’s citizens wanted certainty. “(On Brexit) They want you to deliver, they want an answer what is going to happen tomorrow,” he added.

A new European Commission began work this week in Brussels and Bettel said it was important that the bloc remains competitive in the world.

On the strength of NATO, following candid footage of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laughing at lengthy press appearances by U.S. President Donald Trump, Bettel said: “I think we (NATO) are much more united than it looks.”

Also quipping, Bettel said his chief of staff often reminds him “don’t speak even if you know nobody is listening”.

(Reporting by Marc Jones and Huw Jones; Editing by Giles Elgood)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

More than two million Australians download COVID-19 app, testing expands

SYDNEY (Reuters) – More than two million Australians have downloaded an app to trace contacts of COVID-19 patients hours after its release, the government said on Monday, as states set out plans to expand testing for the infection. Prime minister…

COVID-19: UK records 118 deaths, plans to reopen schools from June 1

The UK recorded 118 additional deaths due to COVID-19 bringing the total number to 36,793, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. There were an additional 2,000 new cases of coronavirus as the prime minister said the country could likely move to…

G7 leaders to host videoconference on COVID-19 next week

WASHINGTON – Leaders of Group of Seven (G7) will hold a videoconference on COVID-19 early next week, the White House said on Friday. During his phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Donald Trump agreed to host a…

Brexit Day: Britain to leave EU, marking end to years-long fight to deliver on 2016 vote

The long-running saga of Britain’s exit from the European Union could soon be coming to a close; senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot reports from London. Britain on Friday will formally leave the European Union, ending an intense nearly four…