Daily Express: ‘Hypocrisy’ Fury after Luxembourg PM lectures UK on free trade behind ‘protectionist zone’

A CHIEF economist has ripped into the Prime Minister of Luxembourg’s comments about Britain’s demands for a trade deal with the European Union post-Brexit.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was joined by the President of the European Council on Wednesday and delivered a short speech about Brexit alongside Mr Tusk.

The pair joked that Britain had long been an EU member with lots of “opt-outs” and wanted to become a non-EU member with lots of “opt-ins”.

Graeme Leach of the Economists for Free Trade criticised Mr Bettel for his comments. He said: “Yet again we see EU politicians failing to practice what they preach.

“Luxembourg lies right at the heart of the world’s biggest protectionist zone, and yet their PM is lecturing the UK on free trade.

“The PM’s comments combine hypocrisy with a lack of any sense of reality.”

Speaking alongside Mr Tusk, Mr Bettel warned that Brexit would damage both the UK and EU and that a level playing field must be respected to protect the internal market.

He said: “We should keep in mind that tens of thousands of jobs are linked to Brexit and depend on the future relations between the UK and the European Union we always have to keep this in mind.

“In this respect, we also need a smooth transition and avoid all kind of disruptions which could harm trade links which are beneficial to our people on both sides of the channel. That is often why I call Brexit a damage limitation exercise. The transition phase is important, to manage the exit of the UK also in technical terms.

“Another principle which is at the heart of our undertakings is the respect of level playing field and to respect the integrity of the internal market.

“Unfortunately and we have to know that there will be no winners after the Brexit. Both sides will be losing. Minimising the loses and limiting the negative impacts as much as possible in the respect of the level playing of the international market is the challenge we all face around the table.”

To read the Daily Express’s report in full, click here.

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