UK will 'blink first' in talks over Brexit, claims Malta
The UK will "blink first" on Brexit because it has more to lose than the EU, Malta's finance minister has said, ramping up tensions ahead of formal exit talks.
"Both the UK and the EU will suffer, but the problem is, who is going to blink first? It will be the UK," Edward Scicluna said just days after Malta assumed the EU presidency on January 1.
"There is already a lot of uncertainty being created economically, companies searching elsewhere, banks doing the same.
"That's where the UK will blink first because it's on the weak foot."
His remarks come after the head of the UK's central bank, Mark Carney, told British MPs it would be Europe that would suffer the most post-Brexit.
The verbal sparring makes it more likely the split will be fraught.
"We know it's a divorce, we hope it can be an amicable one, but circumstances are not showing it can go in that direction," Mr Scicluna said.
A report by credit rating agency Moody's said Ireland and Malta were among the euro-area countries that would be most affected by the UK's intention to leave the EU, due to their trade, tourism and financial links with Britain.