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Express: ‘Position of power’ May’s EU ace up her sleeve as 5.8m in Europe rely on Britain for jobs

Date: 23 09 2016

‘Position of power’ May’s EU ace up her sleeve as 5.8m in Europe rely on Britain for jobs

BRITAIN is in a “position of power” over Brussels to negotiate Brexit with a new report revealing that millions more EU jobs are dependent on trade with the UK than the other way round.

The study has led campaigners to urge to press Britain’s economic advantage over the EU by initiating Article 50 in January at the latest and give the bloc an ultimatum to agree a tariff free deal in two years. 

In its report leading thinktank Civitas revealed that 5.8 million jobs in the EU are dependent on UK trade while 3.6 million British jobs are linked to business with EU countries. 

The revelation is a humiliating blow to Brussels hardliners led by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and European Parliament negotiator Guy Verhofstadt who have said they want to punish Britain for voting to Leave. 

It also weakens the position of the four EU central European countries known as the V4 – Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – who have threatened to veto a trade deal if it does not include free movement to the UK for their citizens. 

And those in favour of a “quick hard” argue it should silence senior figures in the cabinet like Chancellor Philip Hammond who are urging a cautious, slow approach to leaving the EU. 

Businessman Richard Tice, who chairs the Leave Means Leave campaign group backed by prominent eurosceptic MPs said: “This report demonstrates that the UK is in a very strong position when negotiations begin with the EU. 

“The EU needs to secure a trade deal with the UK or the job market in every EU country will pay the price.” 

He added: “Article 50 should be triggered no later than the start of 2017 and we should give the EU no more than the 2 year notice period to sign a new deal with us. Remember, for the UK, no deal is better than a bad deal. Businesses and consumers need clarity on timing.”

Senior Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman, who sits on the European Parliament Trade Committee, said the report “ends” the one sided debate about “what the EU could do to Britain.” 

He said: “The report makes it clear that Britain will begin negotiations in a position of power.

“Never forget the EU wants access to the world’s fifth largest economy, the world’s largest financial centre, that they have a huge trade surplus with us and that the Eurozone could collapse if no satisfactory UK trade deal is done.” 

He argued that Brexit “gives the UK a fantastic opportunity to secure a free trade deal with the EU while taking back control of our borders” and at the same time secure trade deals with the rest of the world. 

He added: “EU nations are more dependent on trade with the UK than the UK is with them. 

“Senior figures in the EU would do well to remember that and refrain from making empty threats that the EU will punish us for delivering on the democratic will of the people. It is in their interests more than ours to secure a good deal.” 

The report comes in the same week as the Office for National Statistics confirmed that doomsayers claims on an economic collapse in Britain with a Leave vote have not happened and instead the country is enjoying a Brexit boom. 

It also underlines that the EU economy, which is already on its knees with the failing euro and suffering from record unemployment levels, has far more to lose from starting a trade war over Brexit. 

Already German carmakers have been pressing for a fair deal with the UK which represents their biggest export market accounting for one fifth of all vehicles made there.

And the French wine market faces catastrophic losses with the UK as its second biggest market worth £1.1 billion a year and accounting for more than 12 per cent of all bottles produced. 

The Civitas report notes that Britain, even as an EU member, has become more global in outlook and seen its proportion of exports going to the EU drop from 50 per cent 42 per cent since 2005. 

After Brexit this is set to fall to a mere 29 per cent by 2035 making the EU much less important for creating British jobs. 

Civitas also points out that currently 1.3 million German jobs are dependent on healthy economic relations with Britain compared to 800,000 UK positions dependent on trade with Germany.

Civitas research fellow Justin Protts, who conducted the analysis, has also said that a number of smaller countries have almost one in ten of their job market dependent on the UK.

These include Ireland with 9.51 per cent, Malta 8.97 per cent, Cyprus 8.82 per cent and Belgium 7.82 per cent. Ukip business spokesman Christopher Mills pointed out that the facts in favour of Britain will heap pressure on French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who both face difficult elections next year. 

He said: “It will be the pressure of their citizens on national Governments that will force continental politicians to recognise that what is good for Britain and British workers is also good for their own populations. 

“A fair deal that allows freedom to trade without unrestricted freedom of movement is the clear best solution, for us, and for them.” 

September 23rd, 2016: Express