Brexit lesson means Eurosceptic states will cause havoc form the inside, Sant warns

Labour MEP calls for caution from Brussels against any overreach after securing Brexit on its own terms

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

The European Union’s eurosceptic member state governments will not threaten to leave the 27-member bloc, but cause havoc from the inside, Labour MEP Alfred Sant has suggested.

In a reaction on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU at the European Parliament, Sant called for caution from Brussels on driving forward its ‘victory’ in seeing the British exit on its terms, imparting a lesson from history.

“Witness the Versailles treaty, or the Russian position over recent years in reaction to how post-Soviet arrangements in Europe were played out,” Sant said, warning that the EU should be wary of driving its negotiating advantages as of now, to the extreme.

“This might lead to very serious unintended and unforeseeable consequences. In any agreement, a party that goes away with the feeling it has been given a raw deal, will later be tempted or driven to exact some form of compensation or retribution.”

He mentioned the Versailles Treaty of 1918, drawn up after the end of World War I in the form of punitive reparations to be paid by Germany, as one of the catalysts that led to German revancheism and later WWII.

“Should there be any other EU government wishing to exit, it will have learnt the lesson of not doing it the British way,” Sant told MEPs in an intervention on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

“On the one hand, it is clear that the Brexit deal just signed is the only one possible in the circumstances. On the other hand it is equally clear that while the EU has safeguarded all its imperatives, the UK has retreated along all lines of engagement. In part this was because for various reasons, its negotiating positions and strategies were not so coherent.”

The former MEP remarked that should there be any other EU government wishing to exit, it will have learnt the lesson of not doing it the British way under article 50 procedures. “It could for instance first do its best to cause havoc from the inside in order to leverage and strengthen its position during exit negotiations.”

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