BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union needs Britain to vow to not decrease its environmental safety requirements after it leaves the EU, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier mentioned on Tuesday.
A promise to that finish, he mentioned, ought to be written down within the treaty that can regulate relations between London and the 27 international locations that can stay within the EU after Britain leaves on the finish of March 2019.
“In the future relationship we should commit to no lowering of the standards of environmental protection,” Barnier informed a gathering on the surroundings organized by the European Parliament.
“The agreement on the future relationship with the UK should include a non-regression clause. This can be inspired by the CETA (Canada-EU free trade agreement) or Japan FTA (free trade agreement) provisions, but this will need to go further. It should prevent any reduction of the key pre-Brexit standards.”
Barnier mentioned that with out such a authorized safeguard, Britain may resolve to scale back its environmental safety requirements to realize aggressive benefit in commerce.
This wouldn’t solely enhance air pollution and environmentally dangerous manufacturing in Britain, but in addition increase air pollution for Britain’s neighbors.
“Reduced UK ambition on air pollution could result in neighboring states (Ireland, Belgium, France the Netherlands) needing up to 9 percent more effort to reach their clean air objectives – with significant additional costs,” he mentioned.
Barnier famous that British Prime Minister Theresa May assured the EU London wouldn’t interact in a race to the underside in environmental safety and that her phrases have been mirrored in Britain’s proposed 25-year plan on the surroundings.
“This is welcome, but my responsibility as the EU negotiator is to remain extremely vigilant,” he mentioned.
Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Mark Heinrich