EU vice president says sovereignty debate in Brexit talks is 'totally pathetic'

EU vice president Heidi Hautala

EU vice president Heidi Hautala - Credit: Twitter

Rhetoric on sovereignty coming from Britain during Brexit talks is "totally pathetic," the EU vice president has said.

Heidi Hautala said there was "no problem" with Britain leaving the bloc to reassert its "sovereignty" as long as it remained open to a fair transition.

Speaking with the LBC's Tom Swarbrick on the day of a new deadline, Hautala said: "I understand that the EU has no problem of the sovereignty of the coastal waters of the UK but it's still about market access and a fair transition."

The Finnish politician said transnational cooperation would become vital in the future and that talks of sovereignty from UK negotiators was seemingly isolationist.

"I think it gets lost in translation in the modern world to talk about sovereignty," Hautala told Swarbrick.

"I think the closer to the Brexit date...we get, the more often we hear sovereignty but from the EU point of view, come on, this is a world where we need transnational cooperation and pooling our sovereignty and fair deals so we can work across national borders.

"I find it totally pathetic to continue to speak about sovereignty in the modern world... You have to pool your sovereignty in the modern world." 

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Asked if there was any chance MEPs could scupper a deal if Michel Barnier presented one, Hautala responded: "We don't have UKIP members anymore so that's a bit of relief in this question.

"But I can hardly believe the Michel Barnier would bring back something that the EU member states could not accept.

"We will do everything to make sure there is a deal and it will be ratified by the end of the year or there will be special arrangements."

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MORE: Grant Shapps claims it would 'add fuel to the fire' to seek Brexit extension

On Monday, the EU and Britain agreed to continue talks beyond the Sunday deadline imposed by MEPs.

Both sides say "significant differences" remain on issues such as the level playing field and fisheries.

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