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Abandon Brexit negotiations now or face disaster – Yanis Varoufakis

2 min read

The Prime Minister should abandon Brexit talks now as she is “sleepwalking into a disaster”, according to Greece’s controversial former finance minister.

Yanis Varoufakis led the negotiations with Brussels to alleviate Greece’s crippling national debt crisis in 2015.

Mr Varoufakis told BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster show: “It is my view that this government is sleep walking into a disaster.

“The EU does not want to negotiate with Britain.

“The mistake that Brexiteers and the government was made to think that because German industry, Italian wine producers, have a vested interest in reaching an agreement with the UK that this is somehow going to influence the negotiations.

“The greatest nightmare for Brussels, but also Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, is a mutually advantageous agreement with Britain.

“This will be interpreted in their mind by the rest of the riff raff of Europe - the Greeks, the Spaniards, the Portuguese - as a sign you can confront the EU’s deep establishment and get a decent deal out of it.”

Mr Varoufakis resigned after he failed to stop the EU from imposing austerity on Greece in return for a bailout.

The influential economist said Theresa May should withdraw the UK to European Economic Area (EEA) membership in an effort to reform the EU.

The former University of East Anglia professor explained: “Mrs May should respect Brexit by opting for a Norway-style EEA agreement, and file an application for a five year membership that will create a period of stability.

“That immediately causes the redundancy of Mr Barnier and his team, because there will be no need for these negotiations to continue.

“It’s a sensible transition from membership of the EU to Brexit to create a completely different EU by the middle of the 2020s."

Brexit negotiations have hit a stumbling block this week after the EU commission refused to discuss the possibility of a trade deal until they are happy with the terms of the divorce bill.

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