PMQs: Boris Johnson slams Keir Starmer over Brexit stance
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German MEP Gunnar Beck said jealous eurocrats would attempt to pin the blame on the UK for the bloc vaccine shambles and slow economic recovery after the pandemic. And he warned if Brussels refuses to cool tensions with Britain other countries could soon quit the EU. He said: “If we assume that the recovery won’t be as rapid and dramatic as many had hoped, then the EU will be looking for scapegoats because its not in the habit of acknowledging mistakes, especially Ursula von der Leyen.”
Mr Beck, a member of the European Parliament’s Brexit committee, warned resentment of Britain would grow as the benefits of Brexit come to fruition.
The German, who voted against a resolution on the trade agreement that branded Brexit a “historic mistake”, said many of his colleagues reluctantly endorsed the UK-EU pact.
He said: “There are still a lot of people in Brussels who deeply resent this agreement and If the UK economy continues to outperform the EU that resentment will linger.”
“If we continue to see confrontation, that’s clearly the underlying reasoning.”
In the four months after the Brexit trade agreement was concluded, antagonistic EU chiefs have threatened a hard border on Ireland and a blockade on the export of life-saving jabs to Britain in an ongoing cross-border row over Covid vaccines.
Mr Beck said that more counties could opt to follow the UK out of the EU unless eurocrats attempt to cool tensions with Downing Street.
“Michel Barnier said the EU should carefully access the lessons from Brexit but I don’t think that’s happening,” he said.
“You may find perhaps a very, very carefully phrased acknowledgement that it’s time to move on, but no formal apology.”
He added: “If the EU doesn’t recover at a decent pace then there will be those who blame Britain for it and would look for every opportunity to squeeze Britain even in these new circumstances just because Brexit cannot be seen to be a success.
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“There are very great fears that some of the northern countries – such as Finland and Denmark – that are dissatisfied with budget contributions, the general cost of the EU and immigration.”
While the Brexit divorce and trade deal are now complete, negotiations over Northern Ireland, vaccines and financial services cooperation are set to continue.
Insiders in Brussels say that Lord Frost’s promotion to Brexit minister was a concern for them after his tough negotiating stance.
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But sources say EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, responsible for Brexit, is already building a positive relationship with the peer.
The pair are in regular contact to hammer our solutions for the Brexit divorce deal’s protocol to avoid a hard border.
Whitehall officials are confident an agreement can be reached to minimise the EU-order trade checks between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
Previously they had feared eurocrats’ approach to the issue was too bureaucratic.
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