EU contempt laid bare after Luxembourg minister admitted ‘many’ want to punish UK

Eurovision result ‘probably to do with Brexit’ says Matthew Wright

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Britons have been fuming online after the UK scored zero points in the Eurovision song contest this weekend. Some critics point the finger at Brexit as one of the key factors as to why the UK underperformed amid a year of political battles over vaccines and trade deals. Social media users raged against the eurocentric competition with some even calling for the UK to boycott the competition next year.

One angry user tweeted: “Shame on the nasty Euro-v countries… Jealous of our independence Brexit.”

Another one said: “Let’s face it.

“Brexit had sod all to do with UK independence. It was a middle finger to Eurovision.

“Brexit clearly is the cause of this. The [UK’s] song Embers was amazing and one of the best in years, so to get zero points is a joke.”

The narrative of EU member states wanting to punish Brexit Britain is not new.

In 2018, the finance minister of Luxembourg told CNBC many in Europe were looking to take revenge on London.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Pierre Gramegna said that those with such an agenda would have never admitted to it.

He said: “There are many people out there who are trying to punish the United Kingdom without saying it — if you ask them they will deny it.

“Let’s try to be more positive, let’s try to de-dramatise the whole negotiation.”

Mr Gramegna also called for European negotiators to avoid punishing London and its financial services for Brexit.

He insisted: “Weakening London as a financial centre to make sure it will not be the first financial centre in the world anymore is weakening Europe.

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“Let’s not have London drift into the Atlantic, let’s make sure we have a working relationship with London.”

Right after the 2016 EU referendum, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who at the time was serving as Treasurer, also made similar claims.

He used a speech to G20 colleagues in Germany to call for collective support as the UK was about to leave the EU.

Mr Morrison told the conference: “Australia will continue to support and promote global free trade.

“We must recognise that a punitive or restrictive set of new arrangements will have far greater and more lasting implications than the immediate reaction to the poll result itself.

“Any reduction in financial system efficiency and liquidity within and between the EU and UK would have implications well beyond Europe.”

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Mr Morrison said the UK had developed into a major trading hub for euro-denominated transactions and restricting the location of euro transactions could impose additional risks and costs for EU and global market participants.

He insisted: “We must all encourage the relevant parties to explore how the market can continue to operate efficiently and how the UK can continue to support that outcome.

“Negotiators have to recognise the mutual benefits that come from co-operative and open financial arrangements and that the UK will continue to play an important role in the EU financial system.”

Despite Mr Morrison’s warning, UK financial firms lost their wide ranging access to EU markets when the Brexit transition period came to an end on December 31 and now have to navigate a patchwork of regulations from member states.

The only way the City of London can regain its pre-Brexit access to the EU is if Brussels unilaterally grants regulatory equivalence.

However, the bloc believes the UK is destined to diverge from its financial services regulations and has withheld the designation.

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