Don’t mess with Britain: EU can’t afford to pick fight with UK over Brexit, warns report
David Frost explains importance of ‘having control’ on rules
But despite very real threats to the economies of multiple EU27 economies highlighted in the analysis, a trade war is looming because Brussels is unlikely to back down, pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU has said. Facts4EU suggested such a trade war would put the jobs of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens at risk, with Germany, still led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Netherlands and France, led by President Emmanuel Macron, the most at risk from the fallout.
Report author David Evans used figures from the Office for National Statistics in 2019 (the last year unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic) to look at the value of goods sold to Britain over the course of the last decade by individual member states.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germany, which Mr Evans said habitually refers to the UK as “Treasure Island”, was well out in front, on £65.6billion, followed by the Netherlands on £42.9billion and France on £31.4bn.
Facts4EU‘s report indicates £2.35 trillion of EU goods were sold to the UK between 2011 and 2020.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellot
Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president
The EU sells 52 percent more to the UK than it buys, and has enjoyed a trade surplus of £808billion.
Mr Evans commented: “The largest goods exporter to the UK has always been Germany, by far the EU’s largest economy.”
Production output as a whole in Germany was falling, as were retail sales, while inflation was now running at 4.5 percent, he pointed out.
He added: “For Germany, the largest single product group it sells to the UK is of course motor vehicles, particularly cars.
EU countries most at risk
“It is Germany’s car industry which is particularly suffering, due to supply chain difficulties and other factors.
“For Germany the motor industry is a significant part of the economy, representing 10 percent of GDP.”
Brexit minister Lord David Frost and EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic met on Friday in a bid to thrash out a solution to the problems swirling around the Northern Ireland Protocol, which furious Unionist critics claim has resulted in a border down the Irish Sea
Mr Evans added: “No one yet knows for certain how the negotiations between Lord Frost and EU Commission Vice-President Sefcovic will end up.
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Lord David Frost, Britain’s Brexit Minister
Emmanuel Macron, France’s President
“However, being seasoned observers of the EU seven days-a-week for many years, we would be simply staggered if the EU were to acquiesce to the perfectly reasonable proposals laid out by Lord Frost in his Command Paper sent to the EU in July.”
Mr Evans explained: “Faced with incontrovertible evidence that the Northern Ireland Protocol is not working, the Commission had no real choice but to offer some concessions.
“As Lord Frost has made clear, these do not go nearly far enough.”
Nevertheless, with Lord Frost widely believed to be ready to trigger Article 16, thus suspending the protocol, Mr Evans saw no prospect of any compromise from Brussels.
The EU has enjoyed a huge trade surplus over the UK
He said: For the EU to accede to the changes needed for the Protocol would – in our view – be politically and ideologically impossible for them.
“Apart from anything else, they are immensely proud of the way in which they got Theresa May to accept the broad principle that the price of Brexit would be to lose, de facto, Northern Ireland.
“The case for invoking Article 16 is beyond doubt.”
Facts4EU’s preferred option had always been for the UK to leave WTO terms, Mr Evans acknowledged.
BMW and other German manufacturers rely on the UK as a vital market
He added: “This was something which the anti-democrats in Parliament, abetted by fanatical campaigners funded by foreign money, prevented by court action and by disgraceful behaviour in the House of Commons.
“If the EU make no significant moves this week or next, as we expect, then it is becoming hard to see how the British Government can fail to act.
“Our report above shows what the citizens of the EU have at stake in the event that the EU apparatchiks start the opening moves in a trade war.
“We would like to think that businesses and general public opinion might pressure the EU Commission to reconsider. Sadly, that’s not how the EU works.”