World Economy

EU, UK Heading for Economic Cold War

EU, UK Heading for Economic Cold WarEU, UK Heading for Economic Cold War

Britain and the European Union are heading for an “economic cold war” that could have “terrible consequences” for the West, Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mario Giro said Monday.

In an interview with the Guardian, Giro said there were more hardliners in the EU who were against the decision taken by the UK than had been thought, Politico reported.

“We are hearing more and more that there are people—economic interests—who are thinking they can inherit some economic position … from the UK,” he said. “And this will be an economic war. Let’s say an economic cold war, and we are not in favor of it.

“To enter into a new era of hard competition on big money questions involving companies, this is very bad for the western world,” said Giro. “We don’t need these kinds of tensions at this time.”

“When we are among the 27 (countries within the EU, not including the UK), the hardliners are more numerous than it appears. I cannot quote a country in particular at the moment. We will see it at the beginning of the negotiations,” Giro said.

He said Brexit negotiations needed to take place in a spirit of patience and calm, “because if we don’t do it like this, if we act from the belly, with revenge, with sentiments, we will all be in trouble.”

The statement followed remarks this month by the British prime minister, Theresa May, in which she said the UK was prepared for a “hard Brexit” if she could not negotiate a reasonable agreement with the EU over Britain’s departure. 

She said attempts by other EU countries to wreak vengeance on the UK would be an “act of calamitous self-harm” because the UK in turn would be prepared to radically cut taxes to attract businesses.

Italian officials have always said their top priority in Brexit negotiations would be to guarantee the rights of hundreds of thousands of Italians who lived in the UK.


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