French and German politicians line up to say UK must be worse-off after Brexit. What did we expect?

Former French Prime Minister and senator Jean-Pierre Raffarin [Image: Getty].

This is unhelpful – although not unexpected.

The implication – that France, Germany, and who knows how many other EU nation states actually want the United Kingdom to be worse-off after Brexit – sets up an atmosphere of suspicion and an “Us against Them” mentality that will be extremely unhelpful in the forthcoming negotiations.

Surely, if the remaining 27 states are convinced of the superiority of EU membership, they don’t need to try to make the UK worse-off, as implied in Mr Raffarin’s comments. Herr Weber’s remarks were more diplomatic and reflect this point of view better – although not perfectly.

So now, instead of going into the exit negotiations in an atmosphere of trust and with the hope of getting the best deal for everyone, it seems the UK’s representatives are likely to suspect the motives behind every proposal or argument that is made.

It’s no way to behave – and certainly not the way to make any progressive decisions.

Britain must not be better off outside the European Union after Brexit, an eight-month inquiry by the French senate has concluded.

The 51-page document also says Theresa May’s keynote Brexit speech at Lancaster House was a “mixture of veiled threats and pledges of goodwill” – a likely reference to the Prime Minister’s threat to take Britain out if the EU with no deal, rather than a bad deal.

The report adds that the EU’s four freedoms – goods, people, services and capital – are “inseparable” and it must not be possible for Britain to segment access to the tariff-free single market for certain sectors. “It is on this issue that the Senate will be very vigilant,” the report warns.

Last week Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former conservative French premier who chaired the inquiry, added: “From a European point of view that the new agreements cannot be better than the old ones – which might be difficult for the United Kingdom side to accept – while at the same time protecting the EU’s joint interests, notably on security and defence.”

The report says that Brexit is a shock to European cohesion but the process, which it claims is now “inevitable”, must not take the European project “hostage” and says unity of the 27 other EU states is a priority.

It comes after a senior German politician warned that Britain’s exit from the EU will be “Mission Impossible” and create “a lot of damage” for the UK. Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest political group in the European Parliament, said the process of the UK’s break from the EU would not be an easy task.

Speaking at a news conference in Strasbourg alongside the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, the German MEP said: “It will be a mirror, from my point of view, to show the people in the European Union that it is much more better to reform the European Union than to destroy the European Union.”

Source: Brexit: UK must not be better off outside EU, warns French senate report

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5 thoughts on “French and German politicians line up to say UK must be worse-off after Brexit. What did we expect?

  1. Barry Davies

    It took the French Senate 8 months to come up with that? now if they had something decent to do such as running their own nation they couldn’t waste so much time on something that has no legal standing whatsoever. I like the analogy the German made with Mission Impossible, because as I recall it the mission impossible team always won.

  2. NMac

    Well, for months now May, Davis, the nasty dangerous buffoon Johnson, Fox and Duncan-Smith have all been freely insulting our EU friends and neighbours. They get away with it here because they are not robustly challenged, but in Europe they are seen for what they are, a clique of right-wing nasties who are incapable of working alongside other nations unless they are lording it over them – a throwback to the 19th century attitude of Empire, the loss of which they cannot come to terms with. Indeed, what else can they expect?

    1. Roy Beiley

      I agree. Trouble is the Gang of Five mentioned by you see subtlety and diplomacy as weaknesses. Instead they use Foghorn statements. May’s idea seems to revive around getting a few of the EU minnows onside by offering them some sort of sweetheart deal if they break ranks with rest of the EU members. Divide and Conquer. However, after years of tolerating our petulance the Biggie’s in the EU, Germany and France, have at last a way of responding to our “demands” by giving cold comfort to the possibility of us getting a good deal.

  3. Peter Hepworth

    The English (not British or Irish) attitude to the European project was ever negative and condescending. Now we are getting our deserved come-uppance.

  4. Zippi

    Is this not, pretty much, what was being said during the referendum campaign? THEY talk about veiled threats(!) It was this attitude that added weight to my vote. There has been talk of reform for years but even when there was the very real threat of the U.K. ceasing to be a part of the E.U. where was the reform? From my perspective, if those people had really wanted to retain the Union, they would have worked harder to achieve that. The U.K. has been a thorn in the side of the E.U. since we joined the E.E.C. I heard people in Europe saying that they wanted us to go, because it would be better for them and better for us. Why does everything have to be a battle? Ach, weel, let’s see what the future holds.

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