Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2019

BITTER ABOUT BREXIT! Juncker rages at critics of bonkers EU red tape – 'we're not stupid'


Mr Juncker, the European Commission President, hit out at “those who are saying that the Commission is composed of blind, stupid and stubborn technocrats”. He argued that the Brussels executive’s ability to strike deal should be enough to silence the critics. Leading Brexiteers argued that Britain’s ability to trade successfully across the globe was often hindered by Commission intransigency when concluding deals with non-EU countries.

Ultimately, Leave campaigners convinced Britons they would be able to operate a more efficient global trading policy if they left EU red tape behind.

Speaking at EU Industry Day, Mr Juncker bemoaned any criticism levelled against the Commission for its failure to move quickly to secure trade deals.

He said: “Let me be very clear, we are not naive free-traders. We will not wait for the sake of it or compromise on our principles for a quick deal.”

“In nearly 30 years, since the first European merger came into place, we have approved more than 6,000 deals and blocked less than 30,” the 64-year eurocrat added in a snipe at critics.

“This is a message for those who are saying that the Commission is composed of blind, stupid and stubborn technocrats.

“Six thousand deals have been approved and 30 were blocked. This shows that we believe in the competition as long as it is fair for all.”

And perhaps offering a signal that the EU will be as uncompromising with Britain during post-Brexit trade talks, he said: “We will never play politics or play favourites when it comes to ensuring a level playing field.”

Last week, Brussels unveiled its free trade agreement with Japan, which took six years to complete after EU leaders instructed the Commission in 2013 to start negotiations.

The bloc’s trade partnership with Canada – CETA – took almost ten years to conclude from start to finish.

In March 2004, at a Canada-EU summit in Ottawa, leaders agreed on a framework for the original deal, which was later scrapped in favour for a more comprehensive agreement that eventually came into force in September 2017.

Last April, Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the Federation for Small Business, said EU red tape is a “burden” and costing British businesses.

He told Express.co.uk: “We always get asked the question about individual bits of regulation.

“Of course, it is not necessarily the regulation per se, the important thing to recognise is that it is often the accumulative burden of regulation in the amount of time it takes the business owner or manager away from actually getting on with doing their business.

“We need to be looking to see how that can be changed post-Brexit.

“I think we will certainly be lobbying the Government where we possibly can to benefit businesses more generally and particularly Federation for Small Business members.”



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