Politics

‘Resentful’ EU ready to ‘punish’ Britain with crushing sanctions, leading German MEP warns

Brexit: UK economy ‘should come back’ following exit says expert

But the European Commission admitted today the Prime Minister’s initial moves have not yet triggered any concerns over breaches of the level playing field. Mr Johnson has ordered ministers to explore ways to strip back rules and regulations to help businesses start generating more revenue. Under the UK-EU day, Brussels has the powers to impose retaliatory sanctions if it deems Downing Street has created an unfair competitive advantage for the country’s businesses, with one leading German MEP telling this website the Brussels bloc is prepared to punish Britain.

Last week it was reported that No10 had ordered a review of employment standards enshrined in EU rules.

An EU ban on pesticide was overturned, on a temporary basis, to help protect English farmers’ sugar beet crops.

And Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also announced a series of freeports that will be established across Britain to help generate billions in revenue and create thousands of jobs.

Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen’s official spokesman said the current divergence is not yet at the stage where the EU would have to take counter-balancing measures.

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He added: “As you know, the agreement we have signed with the United Kingdom foresees that we will look at the impact of these decisions on the level playing field, this is what counts.”

Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic is expected to be put in charge of keeping Britain aligned with EU standards.

EU sources say the top eurocrat, who oversaw the implementation of the Brexit divorce deal, could be announced as early as tomorrow.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit chief, last week hinted Britain could fall foul of the level playing field rules by ignoring a Brussels ban on pesticides.

Mr Sefcovic’s first role will be negotiating with power-hungry leaders who are pushing for more powers to slap Britain with tariffs in the event of disputes.

Some states want a bigger say in decisions on whether to trigger retaliatory measures against Britain if it is deemed to have created an unfair advantage for its businesses.

EU states have demanded more time to scrutinise the UK-EU agreement because of a hold-up in translating the 1,246-page document into the bloc’s 23 official languages.

A diplomat told Express.co.uk: “Translations will not be finished before February 28 and member states are still working through the details of the deal.”

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The wrangling is expected to trigger further delays in the ratification process, with MEPs now considering a vote to green-light the agreement as late as April.

And a leading MEP has warned there are forces in Brussels seeking to unfairly punish Britain for Brexit.

Politicians and eurocrats want to make an example of Britain and hamstring its ability to cut red tape in order to detract from the growing number of problems faces by Brussels, German Gunnar Beck added.

Mr Beck said there will always be figures in Brussels wanting to use the level playing in the Brexit trade deal to “punish” Britain.

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Mr Beck, a member of the EU Parliament’s Brexit committee, told Express.co.uk: “The EU is still very resentful. Among the real hard-liners, the mood at present is that God should punish Britain, and if not God, then we do.”

Downing Street can expect to be on the end of some “unpleasant” abuse as MEPs prepare to rubber-stamp the UK-EU deal in the coming months, the German said.

Mr Beck warned France and Germany would be at the centre of any attempts to strip Britain of its quota and tariff-free trade with the bloc.

He said: “In Germany they do not believe Britain could be performing better. But, if suddenly the signs were there, Berlin would simply say it’s unfair and the French would also obviously say it’s unfair what the UK is doing.”

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