Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen warned Denmark’s EU colleagues to work to ensure that the UK doesn’t end up with a competitive edge when it ultimately pulls out of the union.
“We need to be extremely careful that the side that is leaving doesn’t get particular competitive advantages on its way out,” Rasmussen told Bloomberg last Thursday. “We all want a peaceful divorce, but in this situation only one side wants to part ways, so then we need to protect our own interests.”
Rasmussen said that the goal should be to keep the single market intact and to keep Britain as close to the EU as possible.
A widening gap
EU members are saying that the gap between what the UK wants and what the EU is willing to give is growing.
For example, the British goal of limiting the free movement of labour without losing access to the single market looks increasingly far fetched. Tomas Prouza, the Czech state secretary for EU affairs, has called the UK’s current proposals “completely unrealistic”.
Members of the Danish government are studying the British exit from the EU to see if it can be used to change policies that affect Denmark, such as restricting access for EU migrants to the welfare system.
EU leaders are set to discuss Brexit again during a summit in Slovakia this week. It will be the first time that the UK will not be represented since it joined the EU in 1973.