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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today (18 January) said that the executive was not looking to punish Britain in EU-UK negotiations over Brexit.
Juncker said the executive was not “in a hostile mood” the day after British Prime Minister Theresa May warned she would never accept “a punitive deal” from the EU.
In a landmark speech in London yesterday (17 January), May confirmed that Britain would leave the single market as well as the EU in order to have greater control over immigration.
“There are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path,” she said. “No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
Punishing the UK would be a “calamitous act of self-harm for the EU”, May said, before threatening to slash corporate tax rates to draw investment away from the EU and to the UK.
“We want a fair deal with Britain but a fair deal means a fair deal for the EU too,” said Juncker, who spoke to May on the phone after her speech.
Juncker was speaking at a Strasbourg press conference after addressing the European Parliament with Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta. Malta will chair the early divorce negotiations because it holds the rotating six-month EU Presidency.
Muscat told MEPs, “I do appeal to all the [EU] institutions to adopt a consistent approach aimed at safeguarding the European project and not punishing any particular country.”
>>Read: Whole story on EurActiv
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