Former Brexit negotiator Barnier in cheap shot as Eurozone slides into recession

Quentin Letts says people are happy with Brexit

Former chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said that Britain leaving the EU was a “lose-lose” game. His sly dig at the UK comes after the Eurozone slumped into a recession.

Following a steep fall in Germany, Eurostat’s official figures show the Eurozone economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 following a similar trajectory in the last three months of 2022.

Two consecutive quarters of contraction is the definition of recession, with Germany, the biggest economy in Europe, leading.

The country has been nicknamed the ‘sick man of Europe’ and a ‘problem child’ after a 0.5 per cent decline in its economy at the end of 2022 and 0.3 per cent in early 2023.

Despite the Eurozone struggling, Barnier said: “Brexit is a lose-lose game” in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Read more: Michel Barnier insists ‘door is always open’ for UK to rejoin EU

“There is no winner. It’s a divorce,” he said.

“Divorce is always painful and costly. Now the UK faces the concrete and mechanical consequences of Brexit.”

In the meantime, the UK economy has maintained growth, with the view upgraded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development over the past few weeks, MailOnline reports.

Additionally, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) confirmed it is anticipating the UK to grow by 0.3 per cent this year, overruling its previously projected 0.3 per cent fall.

But the economy remains strained, the BCC has warned.

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Senior member of the BCC Economic Advisory Council Vicky Pryce said the forecast “shows that we are on course to only narrowly avoid a recession. With anaemic growth rates predicted, there is a real danger of slipping back into recession territory at any point”.

She continued: “The risk of recession creates greater uncertainty for firms, with the level of business investment likely to remain low.”

The IMF previously anticipated Britain being the worst performing G7 economy in 2023, however Germany has taken that spot.

Eurostat had projected the eurozone economy would fall flat in the final quarter of 2022, and grow by 0.1 per cent in the first of 2023, which would have avoided a recession.

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However, the dip in Germany forced its hand into altering its assessment.

The fall could be explained by high energy and food prises as well as increasing interest rates as central banks attempt to govern inflation.

Former BCC head and Brexit campaigner John Longworth said: “The reality of Brexit is proving the UK has all the potential to do better outside the EU. Germany is going into recession, the UK has not so far.

“We are the number one destination for investment in Europe. We are better off out.”

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