Maltese PM Says He Is Sure Brexit Won’t Happen – Following ‘Will Of The People’ Would Be A Disaster
The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat (pictured above), says that he sees plenty of signs that Brexit is not going to happen and warns that history teaches that following the will of the people can have ‘disastrous consequences’.
‘Brexit may not happen and a political leader in Britain should show courage and fight for a referendum on the terms of the country’s exit deal with the EU’ he said.
Mr. Muscat, who has been on the inside track of the Brexit talks in recent months while Malta has held the rotating presidency of the European council, has spoken of his growing belief that the UK will remain an EU member.
‘The will of the people can have disastrous consequences, history teaches us,’ Muscat said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.
‘I could name some examples, but they’re so horrendous they’d raise the wrath of my British friends.
‘For the first time, I’m starting to believe that Brexit will not happen. I am seeing hopeful signs that indicate things will change. I see encouraging signs that the tide is turning. I’m not saying the Brits have made a mistake, but the mood is changing.’
Muscat, who is leader of the Maltese Labour party, added:
‘People see that their fundamentally valid vote has been given an answer that does not offer a solution.
‘The referendum was democratic, but has resulted in a situation in which everyone loses. Doubt is creeping in. It would be good if a political leader in the UK stands up and is courageous enough to address this new situation. Someone who says: let’s put the Brexit end-deal to a popular vote.’
As it stands, the final deal negotiated with the EU will be put to a vote in parliament. Theresa May has suggested that holding a referendum on a withdrawal agreement would only encourage Brussels to present punitive terms in the hope of keeping the UK inside the bloc.
Muscat, however, also dismissed suggestions that Britain was not well-prepared for the negotiations with the EU. In recent days, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has complained about a lack of position papers from Downing Street on key issues, including the so-called divorce bill. Barnier told EU ambassadors on Wednesday that hopes of widening talks to take in a future trade deal were likely to be dashed unless the British changed their ways.
‘The problem isn’t that London is prepared badly, but that the EU is prepared extremely well. That much became clear when Michael Barnier asked me, ‘Do you know how many cats and dogs travel from Dover to Calais every year? Do you know what’s to be done with the animal passport?’ Such detail! That’s when I knew: the EU is excellently prepared.’
Muscat, who won re-election in June, campaigned against his country joining the EU in 2003 over fears of job losses. He told the Dutch newspaper his time as an MEP changed his mind and made him ‘critical but not anti-European’.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com