Eurocrats believe they can BULLY and FRIGHTEN Britain to stop Brexit, reveals Tory MEP
Leading eurosceptic Daniel Hannan said two-thirds of the officials he meets in the Belgian capital are stubbornly insisting that Brexit won’t happen despite the result of the June 23 vote.
The Brexit-backing MEP blasted the Brussels elite for failing to offer David Cameron “meaningful reforms” during his ill-fated attempt to secure a deal for Britain, saying this swung the referendum in favour of leaving.
And he claimed most eurocrats believe bullying the UK and trying to frighten people is the best way of keeping the country in the bloc, adding that this represents a “serious misreading” of British character.
In a column for the International Business Times Mr Hannan, who was one of the leading lights in the Vote Leave campaign, argued that Europe’s approach to Britain was a “massive error” borne out of its incapability to reform itself.
And he slammed Remain MPs back home for being “more interested in name-calling than analysis” and dismissed attempts to interpret the result of the referendum to maintain close ties with Brussels.
He wrote: “Britain voted Leave because the EU didn’t return any powers during the renegotiation.
“Even now, a surprising number of Eurocrats still refuse to accept what has happened.
“Two thirds of the officials and MEPs I talk to in Brussels believe that the decision will somehow be reversed.”
He added: “Most Eurocrats think that the best way to change British voters’ minds is through bullying. Hence the occasional talk we get about having to pay a price for leaving.
“It’s a serious misreading of our character: threats make us more resolute.
“Eurocrats are tetchy because they know that, had they been a bit more flexible at the beginning of the year, things would have worked out differently.”
In his column Mr Hannan also touched upon the options available to Britain in terms of its future trading relationship with the EU, arguing that the UK will remain part of the single market.
The eurosceptic MEP has gone on the record numerous times praising the “Norway model” – the country is in the single market but not the EU – but has also insisted Britain can do “even better”.
Under the terms of its membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Oslo has to accept freedom of movement rules and pay vast amounts into Brussels coffers.
But speaking about Britain’s prospect, Mr Hannan insisted: “There is still a market-plus deal to be done, one which allows us to repatriate powers while remaining part of the European free trade area.”
His remarks come after Brexit secretary David Davis got off to a shaky start on his whistlestop tour of Brussels, which was intended to mend bridges after bruising rhetoric on both sides of the Channel.
Mr Davis was given the cold shoulder by EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier and received a tough grilling from the EU Parliament’s Guy Verhofstadt, who implied that the party’s are miles apart in terms of their vision for Britain’s future relationship with Europe.