Sandro Gozi claimed the UK was facing a “big loss” by divorcing from the bloc, despite his own country being on the verge of an economic crisis.
The panicking Italian politician spoke as Theresa May revealed her 12-point plan for a clean Brexit on Tuesday.
She described her vision for a “truly global Britain” and said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market as it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.
Sandro Gozi claimed Britain would be "worse off" once it leaves the EU
The Brits are going to be worse off
The prime minister promised to push for the “freest possible trade” with the remaining 27 nations but warned the EU that to try to “punish” the UK would be “an act of calamitous self-harm”.
Despite welcoming the clarity, Mr Gozi believed the course Theresa May had chosen would hurt Britain more than it would hurt the bloc.
“It is now finally clear what they want. They want to leave for good and they want a full Brexit,” he told BBC Newsnight.
“The Brits are going to be worse off and this is in any case, a damage limitation process.
“It is a loss for the EU to have the UK out – but it’s going to be a big a big loss for the UK to leave the European Union.”
The Italian politician said Theresa May's Brexit plan would hurt Brits
Italy’s secretary of state for EU affairs said it was “odd” the prime minister did not want the UK to be “half in half out” of the EU because Britain had never really been fully a part of the bloc.
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“What I found rather odd about Theresa May’s speech is that she says that the UK shouldn’t be half in half out, after all the UK has always been half in half out in the European Union. We have given to Brits so many exceptions since you joined the economic community in 1973.”
Mr Gozi’s comments come at a time when a cash-strapped Italy tries to get a handle on its own banking crisis.
Some believe the country’s economic downturn could even be the lynch pin for the death of the Euro as Italy’s oldest bank required a £4.26bn bailout.
The European Commission has asked Italy to lower its 2017 budget deficit by over £3billion to avoid an excessive-deficit procedure which could include financial penalties.
European Commission spokesman Margaritas Schinas said the letter was “part of the ongoing dialogue between the commission and the Italian authorities”.
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Mr Gozi agreed it was in the best interests of all parties involved to come together and pursue the best trade deal.
“We are friends and we need to handle the negotiation in order to limit the damage,” he said.
The Italian politician’s gloomy vision for Britain isn’t shared by all EU members.
Speaking on Wednesday, both Latvia and the Czech Republic urged Brussels not to punish the UK’s decision to quit the single market.
Tomas Prouza, the Czech Republic's Secretary of State for EU Affairs, said: “I’ve never heard any political leaders calling for any sort of punishment.
“We would want to have something that makes sense to both sides.”
The Italian minister received criticism on Twitter. Christopher Christic said: “So speaks the undersecretary of the next EU member to default and descend into chaos. Bring it on…”
House Price Media said: "What, worse off THAN THIS?"
Hard Brexit wrote: “We have so much to learn from the Italian economy.”