Wednesday

22nd Nov 2017

Interview

Corbyn: UK should pay EU what it owes

  • Corbyn (l) said his meeting with Barnier (r) was "frank" and "very instructive on both sides." (Photo: European Commission)

The UK should pay the EU what it is "legally obliged to pay" when it leaves the bloc, and a judicial dispute resolution system should be put in place to replace the European Court of Justice's authority over the UK, the British opposition leader has said.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader, was in Brussels on Thursday (13 July), where he met with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans and the UK's EU ambassador, Tim Barrow.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The discussion with Barnier was "frank" and "very instructive on both sides," Corbyn said in an interview with a group of journalists.

He said that he didn't meet Barnier to negotiate, but instead "to set out what [Labour] said during the election campaign about free trade access to Europe."

"Michel Barnier fully understood our position that we were anxious to have a trade arrangement with the EU, to make sure there could be a continuation of the huge trade of good and services across the Channel," Corbyn said.

He insisted that his party's strategy was to "develop trade with Europe," rather than having a "low tax regime economy on the shores of Europe."

"There is a huge supply chain on both sides of the Channel and therefore a big interest in manufacturing as well as financial services on both sides of the Channel," he noted.

In addition to Corbyn, Barnier also met with the Scottish and Welsh leaders, Nicolas Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, on Thursday.

The meetings came ahead of the second round of Brexit negotiations next week. Also on Thursday, the UK government published its position papers on three issues, but not on the most controversial one - the financial settlement.

The UK should pay "whatever we are legally obliged to pay," Corbyn said, while the British government has still not recognised the principle of paying.

The Labour leader said that "EU funded programmes in the UK that go beyond 2020 must also continue". The year 2020 is the end of the EU's current multi-annual budget, to which the UK has committed to contribute.

In one of the position papers published on Thursday, the UK government said that it wants to leave Euratom, Europe's nuclear cooperation body, but ensure a “smooth transition” into a new UK regime.

"I would like us to stay in Euratom," Corbyn said, adding that "regulation" had to be "the same across Europe as in the UK" and that it was "crucial for medical treatment".

He said that if the UK leaves Euratom, "there has to be a judicial dispute resolution process of some sort."

"With any international agreement there has to be a process of arbitration somewhere," he added, suggesting that such a mechanism should replace the European Court of Justice's supervision in other domains after Brexit.

After Labour fared better than expected in the 8 June general election, Corbyn aims to become prime minister if Theresa May were to lose the support of the Northern Irish DUP party.

He said that if he were in charge, he would "negotiate to protect jobs" in the UK.

"We want to protect jobs, we want to protect workers' rights and environmental conditions," he said.

Referring to one the major issues in last year's EU referendum, he pointed out the number of workers coming to Britain from Eastern EU member states.

"Importing groups of workers to underpay and undercut in industries in western Europe is completely wrong," he said.

He added that it was "unfortunate" that "some of the central European countries seem unwilling to sign up the amended posted workers directive," the EU law that regulates how workers are sent to work temporally in another country.

While the Labour leader seemed to endorse May's pledge to limit freedom of movement from EU workers, which carries with it the consequence of taking the UK out of the single market, he said that he would support EU citizens' rights in the UK.

"Our position is that EU nationals should be given unilateral rights to remain in Britain, including family reunions," he said. "And we would expect European countries to do the same with British nationals."

He said, however - and contrary to May - that Labour would not make EU countries' decision a condition to "grant EU nationals their rights to remain" in the UK.

As the UK government presented the European Union (withdrawal) bill this week, the opposition leader said that his party would do "everything we can to ensure that parliament has a vote on scrutiny over the details."

He said that it would "completely wrong" to use the so-called Henry VIII clauses by which the government can create or amend law without parliamentary scrutiny.

"It is embarrassing for the government - we will challenge them on this," he said.

UK to depart EU court and Euratom

UK position papers call for departure from EU court and nuclear treaty as officials prepare for second round of Brexit talks.

Barnier urges UK to come up with Brexit positions

The EU's negotiator calls on the UK government to come up with its positions on key Brexit issues ahead of the next round of talks on Monday. London is expected to do that by the end of the week.

Barnier sets price for hard Brexit

The EU Brexit negotiator warned that a customs union between the UK and EU will not be possible if the UK doesn't want to respect single market rules, and "no deal" would send the UK back to "a distant past".

Column / Brexit Briefing

Corbyn re-opens Labour's single market wound

The Labour leader has put his Brexit cards on the table again but it stands to divide the party, which still has a strong pro-EU following.

Barnier: UK must come up with Ireland solution

EU Brexit negotiator tells UK to come up with solutions to the Irish border issue and prepare to include a level playing field in its future trade deal with the EU, if it is to be ratified by member states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  3. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  4. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  5. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  6. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  7. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  8. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  9. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  11. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  12. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'

Latest News

  1. 1.3 million European citizens in call for glyphosate ban
  2. EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock
  3. David Miliband: EU should take over 500,000 refugees
  4. EU bans 'geo-blocking' - but not (yet) for audiovisual
  5. EU monitoring of Libyan coastguard done by Libyans
  6. Greek opposition leader promises end to 'surreal' era
  7. Refugee case could topple Slovenia government
  8. Leak: EU states weaken post-Dieselgate testing

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  3. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  4. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  6. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Step Up Water Management Cooperation
  8. CECEMachinery Industry Calls for Joint EU Approach to Develop Digital Construction Sector
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMale Business Leaders Gather in Copenhagen to Advance Gender Equality
  10. EnelNo ETS Deal Means It Can Still Be Strengthened
  11. EU2017EEEstonia Anticipates More Digital Cooperation With Sweden
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina Launches Campaign to Protect IPR of Foreign Companies