Russia wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine without Brexit, suggests top MEP
Russia might not have invaded Ukraine if not for Brexit, senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt said on the occasion of the third anniversary of the UK’s exit from the EU.
Mr Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s former Brexit coordinator, suggested that Vladimir Putin miscalculated that the continent had not come together on the defensive after Britain left the bloc.
“This war, this brutal invasion, started with Putin and Russia,” he told LBC. “This is really Putin’s attempt to restore the old Soviet Union. The only difference is that the Communist Party is being replaced by his own henchmen.”
Mr. Verhofstadt added: “A united Europe, of course, in matters of defense, would be of great importance. I think maybe without Brexit, maybe there was no invasion. I dont know.”
The MEP, a former leader of the Liberal Alliance in the Brussels parliament, expressed hope that the UK could still join the EU, but acknowledged that this was unlikely in the next five years.
“Let’s hope the UK can come back and let’s hope Ukraine can join. Why not within five years? Maybe it’s a bit optimistic with the UK,” he said.
Mr Verhofstadt added: “The last time I was in London, it seems to me that for the first time in public opinion in Britain, people understand that Brexit was the wrong choice and that Brexit did a lot of damage to Europe. and of course the UK.
Former Brexit Opportunity Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that Brexit is “going well” for a variety of reasons as it enters its third anniversary.
Mr Rees-Mogg pointed to ‘cheaper insurance’ after changing EU rules, a gene-editing bill, Solvency II rules designed to cut bureaucratic red tape in the city and Britain not being held accountable for £191bn EU aid sterling due to Covid.
He also stated that problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol were not an “inevitable consequence” of Brexit.
“It’s temporary,” he told Sky News. “It seems to me that the protocol is failing and needs to be radically reformed. There should be no border in the Irish Sea.”
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak said the UK has made “tremendous progress” in seizing the opportunities offered by Brexit, saying the country is confidently forging a new path as an “independent nation”.
Among the benefits of the break with Brussels, the prime minister pointed to the opening of eight new free ports, plans to overhaul or abolish the EU’s bureaucracy and revise the business subsidy regime.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has called for the UK to join the EU single market, said it was time to abandon “the hostile mentality of the referendum years and engage in dialogue with our European neighbors about getting closer”.
The SNP and the Greens have said Scottish independence is the only way to avoid Brexit’s “absolute disaster” as the UK marks its third anniversary of leaving the bloc.