At a meeting of the EU Parliament on Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk said that if London sticks to its decision to leave the 28-nation bloc, Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences “unless there is a change of heart among our British friends.”
“Even if it does more damage to the European Union’s economy, and some estimates that I have seen say they will cause 500 billion euro damage to the European economy if we don’t have a free trade deal,” David Blake told Sputnik.
He added that Brussels is ready to give up its access to London, which is “the European financial center” where all major [transactions] are conducted.
“They [EU] are prepared to give up all in order to punish Britain. There will be no easy deal; they are determined to give us a very bad deal even if it costs them more. There is no economic rationality here at all, it’s purely political punishment,” David Blake continued.
A call by EU Council President Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has been dismissed by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
“We can choose the tariffs we set and if we set low tariffs, consumers in this country will be better off, so it’s up to us as a country to set our tariffs afterwards. If the EU goes to a no deal scenario, which is the WTO’s most favored nation’s rules, the average tariff is just 3 percent [and is meant] to protect inefficient European farmers.
When queried about who will be worse off as a result of a hard Brexit or no deal at all, Dr. Blake said that both sides will be worse off as up to 3 million UK jobs depend on trade with the EU and 5 million jobs in the EU depend on trade with the UK.
“There are the carmakers in Bavaria who make the BMWs we love to buy in the UK, and with a 10-percent increase in tariffs on those cars, it will put hundreds of thousands of German workers out of work. And the EU says, “Yes, this is a price worth paying in order to create the United States of Europe,” he noted.
Mentioning recent polls, which indicate that more than half of Britons now welcome the idea of a second referendum on Brexit, Dr. Blake said that he doubted that these polls are actually correct.
“At the last election, 84 percent of people voted for political parties that were opposed to holding a second referendum, and David Cameron, who was then prime minister, made it very clear that there would not be a second referendum, that it was a once and for all decision and that 17.4 million people had voted freely [for Brexit].”
“The EU is not prepared to accept it, and parliamentarians in the UK, especially in the House of Lords, and they are trying to collaborate with the EU [in order to reverse the Brexit process]” he emphasized.
Even if dismissed by Prime Minister Theresa May, the idea of a second referendum, possibly on the terms of any deal agreed between the UK and EU over their future relationship, has gained traction after leading pro-Brexit figures, such as the former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage, said that a second referendum could be held to settle the issue once and for all.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.