Joseph Muscat: 'UK will thrive even after Brexit'

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says UK companies have already been in touch on how to use Malta to maintain an EU presence

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks
30 January 2017, 2:57pm
Maltese companies and sectors could benefit if they reached out to British industry and if they considered Brexit an opportunity - Joseph Muscat (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Maltese companies and sectors could benefit if they reached out to British industry and if they considered Brexit an opportunity - Joseph Muscat (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Brexit will not be a dead end for the UK, and although many deciding factors such as job security and the rate of inflation will come into force, the British economy had so far stood up well to the pressures of a pending exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Monday.

And Maltese companies and sectors could benefit if they reached out to British industry and if they considered the UK's exit from the European Union as an opportunity, and not an obstacle, he said. 

"We have already had contact with British companies that want to keep a foot in the EU," he said. "It is in the interest of both the UK and the EU to reach a good deal and to do so quickly."

Muscat was speaking at a seminar, entitled 'What Brexit means for Business', organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry about the future of trade relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

He said that Brexit on its own was already an engaging, fluid subject but - coupled with policies being introduced by the newly-elected US president - whatever is discussed at any time could very well change drastically after a couple of weeks. 

Joseph Muscat was speaking at a seminar, entitled 'What Brexit means for Business' about the future of trade relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union
Joseph Muscat was speaking at a seminar, entitled 'What Brexit means for Business' about the future of trade relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union
"If Brexit has reminded us of anything, it is that our citizens are always sovereign, that we should listen to their pleas and that they should not be ignored," he said. 

Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry, said that Brexit was not the result that the majority of British businesses wanted or had been expecting. 

"The CBI is under no illusion whatsoever and we know negotiations will not be easy, but keeping business trading and thriving across Europe is the ultimate aim," he said. 

"We're trying to build alliances and make friends, even if there are still many people out there who are angry with us."

Drechsler said that access for people was possibly the most important issue to form part of any EU-UK deal. 

"The 28,000 Maltese living in the UK and the many Brits living in the EU are now facing an uncertain future and it is morally wrong to use people as pawns."

He said that British businesses wanted to ensure that the Brexit negotiations ended with the largest access to the EU market as possible. 

"An ambitious and comprehensive free trade deal with the EU can still be acceptable and beneficial to all parties involved," he said. 

"Let's not take openness for granted and let's talk about why access to people and markets matter."

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Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...