So much for friends in Brussels! MEP who called UK ‘small island’ given Brexit role
Brexit: Expert discusses UK’s ‘major advantages’ in trade
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The new “UK Contact Group” in the European Parliament will be led by German MEPs David McAllister and Bernd Lange. The two politicians have repeatedly spoken against Brexit, often propagating scaremongering and warning about the economic effects of Britain’s departure from the EU.
Back in 2019, Mr Lange referred to the UK as a “small island”, arguing the world would not seek to make trade deals with Brexit Britain over those with the bloc.
He argued London would face “tough negotiations” to replace all EU trade deals after Brexit, because “Australia or Japan are looking at the EU’s internal market, not at the one of a small island”.
He continued: “It will be more dangerous for Britain, because the trading partners are not eager to give it the same conditions they gave to the EU.
“Tough negotiations await London.
“The EU has now 44 trading agreements in force, binding also the UK. Along with the Brexit, London will have to negotiate them on their own.”
“Brexit means a mess for lots of people working in the British industry,” he concluded.
Mr McAllister, already the chair of the EU-UK coordination committee in 2020, is a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
In March 2020, he said Brexit was “a very sad event”, adding he would always be of the opinion that Britain was better off staying a member of the EU.
In August last year, the German MEP accused the UK of “playing a detrimental poker game” during the final stages of the Brexit negotiations.
Announcing the new appointments on Twitter, Mr Lange wrote on Thursday: “After the deal is before the deal.
“New structure in the European Parliament for coordination of democratic scrutiny&parliamentary involvement in implementation EU-UK deal now in place.
“Looking forward to leading new body together with David McAllister and the new chair delegation UK.”
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Since its departure from the bloc, the UK has renewed 63 of the 70 trade deals it had with non-EU countries as a member states.
In October 2020, Britain also signed a trade deal with Japan, the first that differed from an existing EU deal.
And on January 31, the UK announced it would apply to join a free trade area with 11 Asia and Pacific nations called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Members include Australian, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
Britain is also still holding trade talks with the US, Australia and New Zealand.
And yesterday it agreed on a post-Brexit trade deal with Norway.
The details of the deal, which must be approved by Norway’s parliament, remain unknown but will be presented today.
A British trade department spokeswoman said: “Talks are ongoing and remain positive. Both sides are committed to agreeing a new deal as soon as possible.” Since Britain’s departure from the European Union last year and a transition period that ended on Dec. 31, Britain and EU outsider Norway have relied on temporary trade arrangements.
Britain hopes to go beyond the deal it previously had as a member of the European Union, and agree more favourable terms in areas like digital trade and fish processing.
Any deal could pave the way for similar agreements with countries like Iceland.
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