The President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has echoed the sentiments of other European officials by pushing for the EU to adopt a tough line in negotiations with the UK over Brexit. He emphasised that, in the absence of a UK agreement to comply with the rules on free movement of labour, Britain should be refused access to the single market. Mr Draghi has made clear that if the UK chooses to abandon the free movement of labour, it will no longer benefit from the EU’s four fundamental freedoms: the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services. He said that imposing different rules on the UK as opposed to other member states would weaken the EU’s strength, stating, “How we come out of this position will impinge on the stability of the union in future.”
The President’s remarks directly contradict claims made by Boris Johnson, UK foreign secretary, that Britain could secure a deal where trade within the EU remained free whilst immigration of EU workers into the UK was limited. Mr Draghi is set to travel to Berlin this week to explain the ECB’s policies to German lawmakers, at a time when his relationship with Germany’s finance minister is under strain. ‘Bild’, a German newspaper, recently reported that the finance minister is urging politicians to press Mr Draghi to defend the ECB’s low interest regime.