Theresa May could spark a European civil war if she initiates tax cuts
Claude Bartolone, speaker of the lower house of parliament and chairman of a parliamentary Brexit committee, said public services and social laws across the union could “deteriorate” if she followed through on her plans to cut corporation taxes.
Speaking to the Times, Mr Bartolone urged EU officials to avoid a “conciliatory” approach with the UK as other members would be encouraged to quit the EU as well.
Mr Bartolone said: “It’s not a question of punishment. I am a democrat. The British people have spoken and their voice must be heard. But whilst respecting the voice of the British people and negotiating with the British government, we must not weaken Europe.
“My core position is that if we are too conciliatory with the British, if we allow them to have their cake and eat it and get a smile from the cake-maker, and if that makes other countries want to leave the EU too, then we are betraying our commitment to Europe.”
He added that if Britain becomes “country of fiscal and social dumping” then it risks “an economic, European civil war that would lead inevitably to the dismantlement of social laws and to the deterioration of our public services”.
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Politicians and celebrities tweet their reaction as Theresa May unveils her 12 point plan for Britain leaving the EU.
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His sharp comments come days after Mrs May threatened to set “competitive tax rates and policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors” if the EU refused a free-trade deal with the UK.
In a bid to scare the Prime Minister, the French politician claimed the EU would respond with a tough “customs tariff to re-establish a balance”.
But Mrs May pre-empted such threats as she said, punishing the UK would be a "calamitous act of self-harm".
Claude Bartolone condemned May's plans to cut corporation tax
Shortly after Mrs May delivered her speech, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble joined in to warn the Tory leader on her tax cuts.
The minister told an audience: "The UK has always agreed in the G20 summit in that we will not use the taxation of companies as a matter of instrument for competition, that has been agreed, and if we want to be taken serious, we have to stick to what we agreed.
Theresa May reassured business and political leaders at Davos about brexit
"I got Prime Minister May saying UK will be a truly global economy.. a truly global economy has to stick to what has been agreed globally, otherwise there will be a contradiction"
In line with Mr Schaeuble’s remarks, Mr Barlotone, added: “You cannot say, OK, you go to GB and you can produce at costs that are vastly lower tan in continental Europe and you can export with no customs barriers.”