‘The EU is dragging its feet!’ Brexiteer demands EU stop playing hardball in Brexit talks
FORMER Director General John Longworth claims the EU’s refusal to discuss trade before addressing key issues are decided on is an “unreasonable standpoint”.
A resolution was approved by MEPs last week to stall Brexit trade talks because there had not been “sufficient progress” on key issues – including the “divorce bill”, the Irish border and citizens’ rights.
Mr Longworth, who is the Co-Chairman of business group Leave Means Leave, called for the EU to stop playing ‘hardball’ and be constructive in trade talks.
Speaking on BBC World Service, he said: “Clearly the European Union appears to be dragging its feet.
“When the Florence speech was made, the Prime Minister gave lots of things away and asked for nothing. Other than a delay in leaving, of course, which is actually bad for us.”
Mr Longworth, who is a Former Direct General of the Chambers of Commerce, said that the EU’s “line of attack” in Brexit talks are similar to its negotiating tactics used with Greece.
Mr Longworth continued to hit out at the EU’s negotiating team and said that its refusal to discuss trade before discussing key issues is unreasonable.
He said: “Article 50 requires that there be consideration of future relations between any country leaving the EU and the EU itself. So there’s absolutely no reason why that can’t be discussed at the same time.
“What the EU are effectively doing is trying to extract ever more amounts of money from the UK.
“And bearing in mind it’s been the stated intent of some of the commission leaders, to make sure that the UK is worse off for having left in order to encourage other countries not to do the same thing.
“It’s clearly the negotiation tactic of the EU to go along those lines.”
But the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that trade talks are likely to begin by Christmas.
October 13th, 2017: Express