EU officials have claimed France is preparing to table a proposal that would see Britain renounce its right to veto any decisions made during an extension of the EU’s Article 50 exit clause. Britain could also lose its European Commissioner when Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor as president builds their 28-member cabinet. Despite still having to pay into the EU budget and funding MEPs in European Parliament during any lengthy delay, France is insistant Britain should not be allowed to meddle in any EU decision-making, which includes the bloc’s next multi annual budget.
An EU source familiar with the discussions said France will insist on “no veto and no participation in blocking minorities” during the extension.
Paris will also attempt to include that “UK will not obstruct decisions taken at 27” as part of the European Council conclusions this afternoon.
Britain as an EU member has the right to chose whether or not to send a Commissioner to Brussels during the extension, according to a source.
But Paris is also expected to demand that a British Commissioner is not sent to Brussels, leaving the UK away from the top table of EU decision-making for the first time since 1973.
Officials believe Mrs May will put up little fight if the request is tabled at tonight’s emergency Brexit summit.
She will also be expected to stay out process of selecting the next European Council and Commission presidents.
The current incumbents of the roles – Mr Juncker and Donald Tusk – both favour a lengthy Brexit delay until March 2020 to help Westminster find a way to ratify the withdrawal agreement.
But others across the EU have cast doubt on whether locking Britain is a “good behaviour clause” would be legally enforceable while the country is still a member of the bloc.
One senior diplomat said: “If Theresa May sees sincere cooperation as the UK not involving itself in decision-making or standing in the way, we will be satisfied.”
They added that the EU could organise meetings of the 27 while Britain is a member of the bloc in order to reach decisions, but they would have to be signed off.
“We will continue to meet at 27 on all of these issues, the EU treaties do not prevent us from doing that,” they said.
“There are often discussions involving smaller groups of member states – such as the Euro Group or Schengen countries. But too decide we would have to involve Britain.”
Initial fears of a Britain becoming a disruptive partner in Brussels were sparked by a a tweet from Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.
But the senior diplomat claimed the social media stunt had been overblown and that they fully expect Britain to respect the EU, like they have for the last two years.
According to draft European Council conclusions seen by Express.co.uk, the EU will only grant an extension with a “commitment by the United Kingdom to act in a constructive and responsible manner throughout this unique period in accordance with the duty of sincere cooperation”.
The document states that the EU “expects the United Kingdom to fulfil this treaty obligation in a manner that reflects its situation as a withdrawing member state”.
The note continues: “To this effect, the United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives.”
EU leaders will tonight decide on the length of the delay, which was left blank in the draft document.