Mark Rutte’s plot to keep Britain tied to EU exposed: ‘I hate Brexit!’

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After three days of intense talks in Brussels, there is still no agreement among EU member states on the massive coronavirus recovery package. EU leaders left the marathon summit early Monday morning and negotiations are set to resume at 4pm this afternoon. The summit was originally planned to end on Saturday.

Talks have focussed on a proposed €1trillion package, a seven-year budget and a coronavirus recovery fund.

The package is backed by France, Germany, Spain, Italy but the so-called “Frugal Four” (the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark) do not support debt sharing or a significant increase in the EU’s next seven-year budget.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in particular has been at the forefront of a campaign not to “give gifts” to other European countries.

He was singled out by one leader this weekend as the “man responsible for the whole mess” and dubbed as “Mr No, No, No”.

The moniker derives from an April video clip, frequently retweeted, that shows a Dutch waste collector shouting at Mr Rutte not to give money to “those Italians and French”.

Mr Rutte responded “no, no, no”, before laughing and then giving him the thumbs up.

Despite acting as a stand-alone country during the crisis, unearthed reports reveal how Mr Rutte has treated Brexit Britain with contempt after the 2016 EU referendum.

According to a 2017 report by The Independent, the Dutch Prime Minister called for a form of continued EU membership for the UK, claiming: “I hate Brexit from every angle.”

His comments followed those of other European leaders who had suggested that the door remained open for the UK to stay in the EU if it wanted to change its mind.

Speaking as he arrived for a European Council summit in Brussels three years ago, Mr Rutte said it was “crucially important” that Britain set out what it wanted from any Brexit deal.

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He said: “As an anglophile, I hate Brexit from every angle.

“I hope we’ll come to some form of continued [UK] membership or relationship with the internal market.”

Mr Rutte went on to say that he believed the UK’s economy and pound sterling would have been hit very hard by its withdrawal from the EU.

It was not the only comment made by the Dutch Prime Minister on Brexit, though.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais in February, 2019, Mr Rutte warned that the UK looked to be sliding off the “precipice” towards a devastating no deal.

He said: “Who will be left weakened by Brexit is the United Kingdom.

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“It is already weakening, it is a waning country compared to two or three years ago.

“It is going to become an economy of middling size in the Atlantic Ocean.

“It is neither the US nor the EU. It is too small to appear on the world stage on its own.”

Mr Rutte, who claimed the Dutch would have replaced the UK in the bloc as the pre-eminent voice for free trade, also warned that hundreds of companies had plans to relocate across the North Sea from Britain.

He noted: “We can’t stop them from coming here.

“Every businessman I speak to from the UK is saying they will cut investments, cut their business in the UK.

“It will have an insurmountable impact on the UK.”

Responding to Mr Rutte’s comments, a spokesman for former Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I disagree entirely.

“Employment is at a record high, exports are at a record high, companies are continuing to invest in the UK.

“Deloitte named the UK as Europe’s leading destination for foreign direct investment and London as the world’s top city for investment just last month.”

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