Pierre Moscovici said the growing tide of protectionism in the UK – and in the US – could further weaken international trade, before stating that Brexit was a “bad thing”.
The EU commissioner said that Brussels had lost one of its “top” partners following the Leave vote, and that Britain’s decision to pull out of the EU would have a “negative impact on the UK’s economic growth” and lead to “budget shortfalls”.
Mr Moscovici said Brexit would not help make UK businesses more competitive in the global market and help attract more foreign investment, despite Theresa May’s pledge to cut corporate tax to 17 per cent by 2020 from 20 per cent now.
Pierre Moscovici warned the UK economy will suffer following Brexit
He told the French radio station RTL: “The UK will never be the ‘tax haven of Europe’.
“The promise to lower corporation tax will obviously help attract more foreign investment from outside the EU, but that alone is not enough. The UK will have to offer overseas investors more than a meagre tax break.”
When asked to comment on Donald Trump’s first week in office, Mr Moscovici said that the Republican’s protectionist policies would prove “counterproductive” in the long-run.
Mr Moscovici said Britain will not be a tax haven for Europe
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If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another. The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
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He said: “The Trump administration wants to build walls; so let’s start building bridges.”
We, as Europeans, must turn threats into opportunities
The EU’s top economy official further added that the Brussels bloc still had “plenty more cards to play” and would not let Mr Trump “trample” all over EU leaders.
He said: “We, as Europeans, must turn threats into opportunities. We must distance ourselves from the US and focus on building new relationships.”
Mr Moscovici also commented on Mr Trump’s ‘abrupt’ immigration ban, and said that the EU – and international airlines – had no choice but to respect the US president’s executive order.
The EU commissioner also said Europe was prepared for Donald Trump
He added: “I am outraged by Mr Trump’s decision to temporarily ban anyone from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, but, as officials, our hands are tied. We must respect the rule of law.”
The EU commissioner then moved on to his own country’s political woes, and said that the scandal involving right-wing presidential hopeful François Fillon – who has been accused of paying his wife Penelope half a million euros for a fictitious job as a parliamentary assistant – would “boost” the far-right.
He said: “The scathing claims made against Mr Fillon will inevitably help propel far-right chief Marine Le Pen to victory. We need to keep our cool and do everything we can to help quash the rumour.”