Brexit: Former Remainer says EU is ‘fracturing’
Much of Europe is battling a third coronavirus wave aided by the EU’s slugging vaccine rollout. Speaking to German newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine Mr Sassoli, an Italian politician, admitted the bloc has taken a big hit.
However, he controversially argued the EU’s coronavirus response has been a success and called for “more Europe” to confront future challenges.
Describing the pandemic’s impact Mr Sassoli said: “Covid-19 has shaken people’s lives, workplaces and the economy to the core.
“It would be naive to think that afterwards we could simply pick up where we were before the pandemic.”
Figures released this week showed the Eurozone has entered a double-dip recession, with another two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
David Sassoli is president of the European Parliament
“Covid-19 has shaken people’s lives, workplaces and the economy”
Between January and March 2021 it shrank by 0.6 percent following another contraction at the end of last year.
Strong growth is forecast for the Eurozone later this year assuming its vaccination drive is completed, though it is currently lagging behind the UK and US.
Despite the EU’s vaccine failure Mr Sassoli argued the coronavirus crisis shows why Brussels must be further strengthened.
He commented: “The pandemic made it abundantly clear that we need more powers to act in matters of health at the European level, and we have to tackle that now.
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The EU has been damaged by its slugging coronavirus vaccine programme
“This crisis has shown that we need more solidarity, more Europe, because most of the difficulties were ultimately due to going it alone, which is doomed to failure when it comes to cross-border problems.
“This applies to the fight against a virus as well as in the fight against climate change or unfair supply chains.
“The time for the conference on the future of Europe, which starts in a few days and at which we want to discuss such issues with citizens, could not be better.”
Rather than Brussels, Mr Sassoli blamed some of Europe’s biggest coronavirus failings on mistakes made by national governments.
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Much of Europe is battling another coronavirus wave
Mr Sassoli argued for “more Europe” to face future challenges
He stated: “Initial reflexes by some governments to close borders or to rush to get vaccines by themselves have proven to be ineffective as a means against a global virus.
“It quickly became clear to everyone that we can only win this fight if we work together.”
The UK economy also took a battering from the coronavirus pandemic shrinking by 9.9 percent.
This figure, one of the worse in Europe, was Britain’s biggest economic hit since the 1709 Great Frost.
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However swift growth is expected this year with the EY Item Club predicting UK GDP will rise by 6.8 percent.
As a result, the British economy is forecast to return to its pre-pandemic size in the second quarter of 2022.
Earlier this week the European Parliament voted to ratify the UK-EU trade deal which came into effect at the end of last year.
The UK’s economy is expected to grow by 6.8 percent this year
This was negotiated by Boris Johnson to replace the Brexit transition period, which saw the UK remain close to the EU for nearly a year after formally leaving the bloc.
Had the agreement been rejected it would have meant significant new tariffs on trade between the EU and UK.
Alongside confirming the agreement the European Parliament passed a resolution branding Brexit a “historic mistake”.