‘Both sides of the channel’ must strive to deliver best possible future UK-EU agreement, says Danuta Hübner
EU should do its utmost to help ‘British friends’ on their newly chosen path says former Brexit Steering Group MEP.
The UK exited the EU on 31 January 2020 and talks on a trade deal between the two sides are set to begin early March. The transition period is due to end on December 31.
Former UK MEP Claude Moraes has warned that it could be "some time" before the full impact of Brexit is felt on both sides of the Channel.
Speaking to this website, Moraes said that the coming weeks and months “will be a real challenge for those who rightly believe that EU membership was in the UK’s interests.”
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He said, “A government willing to use populist tactics will try and paint Brexit as a success based on the fact that we are in a transition period for at least a year with all the benefits of membership.”
Moraes added, “We will see a lot of fake post Brexit ‘global’ marketing. Only after we truly become a third country can we asses much of the damage. “Remainers”, he added, “have a duty not to leave the field, but to scrutinise and challenge in this period.”
Polish MEP Danuta Hübner, also speaking to this site, recalled how she spent 31 January in London and Cambridge discussing with students “what now?”
“I know that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be sparing no effort to rebrand the British Empire and it is fine with me as long as it is not at the expense of real life relating to the interests of people” Danuta Hübner MEP
She said, “No doubt the EU will be smaller but also the UK will lose part of its identity provided by the European community. I belonged to those continentals who until last December’s elections in the UK hoped to hear that London was calling it all off.”
“This hope is gone, of course. I am between the past and the future now which allows me to be sentimental and emotional. But we now have to find the best possible agreement for the future very seriously. People need it on both sides of the channel.
“I know that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be sparing no effort to rebrand the British Empire and it is fine with me as long as it is not at the expense of real life relating to the interests of people”.
“My almost 500 Brexit meetings, primarily with British nationals, which I had over the last four years confirmed my perception of the British - great people that deserve the best”.
I do not know which geopolitical option, Atlantic or Europe, the UK will choose but I am absolutely convinced that we, the EU, will do our utmost to help our British friends on their newly chosen path toward a good future.
“Our goal is to have good neighbourly relations. This is also what our treaties say. I also hope we will preserve the good legacy our British friends have left on this side of the Channel - I think first of all of their global mindset and openness- and I also hope that people-to-people relations will be a driving force for the future.”
“A government willing to use populist tactics will try and paint Brexit as a success based on the fact that we are in a transition period for at least a year with all the benefits of membership” Former UK MEP Claude Moraes
Denis MacShane, a former Europe Minister in the UK, is more pessimistic and asked, “Will it ever end, and will Brexit be worth it? The three Brexit words for the next few years will be "Uncertainty, Uncertainty, Uncertainty" and uncertainty is bad for business, bad for young people and bad for our friends and allies everywhere.”
Former British Liberal member Andrew Duff, president of the Spinelli Group and Visiting Fellow at the European Policy Centre, described 31 January as “a sad bad day for all Europe”.
Edward McMillan Scott, also a former British Liberal MEP, said, “Now the Brexit champions like Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan – who made their careers out of ending Britain’s preferential membership of the EU – have no excuse”.
“The UK not only respected the dodgy 2016 referendum, with its lies and misuse of personal data, but also accepted the result of the General Election, even though most voters supported Remain parties. So, whatever happens next, the proponents of Brexit like Hannan and Farage will have it hung around their necks”.