Tuesday 23 July 2019

Britain should not be treated like Ireland was on Nice and Lisbon referendums - Pierre Moscovici

European commissioner for economic and financial affairs Pierre Moscovici (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
European commissioner for economic and financial affairs Pierre Moscovici (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Gavin McLoughlin in Davos

Britain should not be treated like Ireland was on the Nice and Lisbon referendums, EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici has said.

He said the UK would be stronger inside the EU but that the EU “must not push” for a second referendum.

“It’s fully legitimate to have a second vote if it comes from the will of the British people themselves…if after three years of discussion you come to a point where you don’t have any solution that is clear, and the only way to get out of the mess is to consult the people in a referendum, why not?”

“What is a mistake is when the EU almost imposed a second referendum. It happened for example a few years ago in Ireland and this was really criticised.

Mr Moscovici said Mrs May winning the vote of confidence in Westminster last week showed Britain didn’t want no deal, even if it also didn’t want the massively rejected withdrawal agreement.

“We are waiting for them not only to tell us what they don’t want, but what they want…there are so many contradictions in British politics,” Mr Moscovici said in a discussion at the World Economic Forum at Davos.

He said the EU would need to know what Britain’s plan for the future of Brexit is if it were to grant any extension to the Article 50 withdrawal period.

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