European Union 'empire should be disbanded' says expert
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The majority of people in the EU’s four largest countries think that since Brexit, relations between British and European politicians have become less cordial. Many also think the EU is still determined to punish the UK for leaving. The findings in an exclusive survey for Euronews by Redfield and Wilton Strategies published at the end of last month reflect the strained relations between the two sides – despite Comprehensive Trade Agreements struck in December last year.
People in France, Germany, Italy and Spain were asked whether they thought the behaviour of British politicians towards the EU and its members had become more or less cordial, or had not changed after Brexit.
Across the four nations, more people replied “less cordial” than those who gave another answer: 51 percent in Spain, 43 percent in Italy, 39 percent in Germany and 37 percent in France.
The Euronews survey also finds that many people in the four EU countries agreed with the statement: “The European Union wants to punish the United Kingdom for leaving.”
In three nations, more people (Italy 35 percent, Spain 34 percent, France 33 percent) thought this was the case than those who disagreed.
Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren also agreed with the statement.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Lundgren recalled the “pure hatred” europhiles were showing towards Britain after the referendum.
He said: “[The Leave result] was a shock for the EU – they never expected it would happen because they put in so much effort in convincing the British people to stay.
“And after that initial shock, it turned into pure hatred pretty much.
“I was sitting in the chamber in the first meeting after the referendum, the hate those people were showing against the British was just terrible.
“It was pretty much bullying.”
He added: “After that, it is very difficult to negotiate something when those feelings are involved.”
When asked whether he still thinks Brussels is trying to make an example of Britain so other countries would not leave, the MEP said: “The EU is trying to make everything difficult for Britain.
“You see it in the debates in the chamber, they are disappointed and want to see an even stronger and ever bigger EU.
“Of course, they are not trying to make it easy for the UK.”
In another interview with Express.co.uk, historian and head of an Icelandic free-market think tank, Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson, echoed Mr Lundgren’s claims.
He said: “Obviously the EU wants to punish Brexit.
“Brussels is always thinking about politics.
“Just look at the eurozone… if they were thinking about economics, the eurozone would have never covered all the countries that are in the monetary union today.
“How the economy behaves is not the same in all the euro countries so they just did this as a step towards integration, to push for a federal state.”
Mr Guðmundsson added: “I can say this – if the leaders of the EU are so convinced that their club is a desirable one and the British are making a huge mistake, then why should they make life difficult for Britain?
“Why shouldn’t they help them? Knowing that in a few years Britain would recognise its mistake and come back asking for membership again?
“The EU would be in a much stronger position to ask for certain things and ask them to adopt the euro, for example.”
He concluded: “Why are they trying to make an example of Britain for other EU members?
“It suggests EU leaders don’t have much confidence in this project and that they don’t actually believe it is a great club to be in.”
According to political journalist James Forsyth, though, in some areas, the EU is “going beyond what is required by its own rules” to make life more difficult for Brexit Britain.
He wrote for The Spectator: “The EU is clearly within its rights to treat Britain as a ‘third country’ as that is, after all, the reality of the new UK-EU relationship.
“But in some areas the EU is going beyond what is required by its own rules, making, for example, the export of bivalve molluscs such as oysters and mussels more difficult than it needs to be.”
Mr Forsyth claimed one of those involved in discussions with the EU about this issue reportedly complained that “they’re going out of their way to make a point”, and that “their motivation is how do we prove that Brexit is a mistake”.
Moreover, one experienced “Government Brexit hand” reportedly described it as an “act of petty vengeance”.
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