As the UK’s exit negotiations with the European Union (EU) continue different states are diverting from the bloc’s official stance, Jeremy Browne claims.
The City of London Corporation’s representative for the EU said Italy, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, France and Germany all have different views on how to treat the UK during Brexit talks.
In one memo Mr Brownw said Italy has taken a positive view towards UK. He said Italian people “retain a sentimental affinity for Britain” and therefore are not looking to punish the country for quitting the bloc.
The former Lib Dem MP warned this is in stark contrast to other EU heavyweights, with Italy far more “conciliatory than the French or Germans”.
According to the memos Eastern Europe cares less about the future of the bloc itself and merely wants to keep Britain as connected to the EU as possible in order to reduce the impact of Russia.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin continuing to extort his influence over eastern Europe, Mr Browne said Latvia and Estonia want to keep the UK sweet in order to use it as “a bulwark against Russian aggression”.
Further north, Finland and Sweden are also straying from the official EU line, Mr Brown said. But while they were keen for a friendly approach to negotiations, “their herbivorous nature prevents them from grabbing the steering wheel”.
Mr Browne issued a stern warning regarding Poland, who he said were relentlessly pushing for a huge exit fee. With UK adamant it will not pay a sizeable fee, Mr Browne said Poland had a “myopic obsession with the size of Britain’s exit fee”.
His memos also criticised the EU as a whole, who he said were disrespecting Britain and carrying out negotiations in a haphazard fashion.
He said: “Some brinkmanship is inevitable, but it requires good judgement about where the brink is. The inability of Brussels to comprehend British politics, or read the British character at the most elementary level, is bewildering; reckless even.
“If Croatia was leaving we would all have to brush up on the psyche of the Croatians, but they are not.”
Source : EXPRESS