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Leaked UK Memos Point to EU Weakness in Brexit Negotiations

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Recently leaked memos showing the UK government's lack of preparation for Brexit may be an EU attempt to weaken London's bargaining position in withdrawal negotiations, Marco Zanni, an Italian member of the European Parliament, told Sputnik on Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Two memos in two days have been leaked to the press this week. The first memo was leaked on Monday in Dublin, showing Irish ministers criticizing a number of UK ministers' lack of reasonable position on negotiations and describing the UK attitude toward Brexit as that of a husband who wants divorce and keep all assets. The second memo was leaked on Tuesday in London, alleging the government's lack of readiness in preparing for Brexit.

“The realization is beginning to dawn on European elites that their position vis-а-vis the UK over Brexit negotiations is not so strong as they thought… Both memos can be seen as an attempt, by the EU, to put [Prime Minister] Theresa May's cabinet under media pressure, to cause fractures between her ministers, in an effort to rebalance negotiation positions," Zanni said.

In fact, the Irish leak targeted the ministers inclined toward a "hard Brexit," which means abandoning the EU-UK free trade zone in case the European Union insists on allowing migration from the bloc. These included Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Brexit Secretary David Davis.

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The European Union has an interest in keeping its trade surplus with the United Kingdom as well as preventing London from undercutting the European Union by lowering taxes, Zanni, who is a member of the European Parliament's Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group and a member of the Italian populist Five Star Movement party, added.

“The EU has a commercial surplus with the UK, and Germany's car industry has already asked the EU to ensure access to the UK market at all costs. There is also a risk of fiscal dumping, Theresa May already said that, in case of tough negotiations, London will introduce a flat tax rate of 10%, one of the world's lowest,” the lawmaker said.

The memos have caused a media storm and prompted widespread criticism of the government. Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the memos showed divisions within the cabinet, while the FDA senior public servants' union urged the government to make concrete plans for allocating resources for the Brexit process.

On Thursday, Deloitte, one of the world’s largest accountancy firms to which the London memo allegedly belonged, said it may pull out of the United Kingdom after Brexit in response to the government labeling the leaked report as bogus.

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