Brussels – Brexit needn’t be hard or soft, it will be a friendly separation, but it’s clear that those who leave will no longer have the benefits they enjoy now. The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani during a live forum hosted by the ANSA agency in Rome tried to avoid controversy on the subject of the European Union’s more or less punitive attitude towards Britain for deciding to leave the group.
“Brexit will not be hard or soft. It will be Brexit, period”, Tajani said, adding that the UK will likely activate the procedure for separating from the EU “after the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome”, which falls on the 25th of March.
“We need a collective effort – said the president of the Parliament – the Commission is the lead negotiating body, but Parliament will have a say as well with its team led by Guy Verhofstadt and composed of politicians and experts, including various Italians”. According to Tajani, “we must defend the interests of the citizens of the Union and show them that staying in or out is not the same thing, you cannot have the same benefits, such as the Internal Market, that countries like Italy, France or Germany have”.
However, Tajani stressed that “Britain will still remain a friend of the Union, and one of our main partners. We should not create enmities”, even though the EU will have to “protect its interests and propose new relationships”.
For Tajani, “negotiations will have to be firm. But Brexit will not be hard or soft. It will be Brexit, period”.
The president of the EP announced that he will soon be meeting Theresa May, who invited him to London: “We’ll meet at the European Council and I’m even ready to go to London. We’ll talk about everything”. In the meantime, he will be meeting with the German chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders of the German government on Thursday or Friday in Berlin.