Yanis Varoufakis: “The Brexit negotiations are designed to fail. The UK should stop negotiating.”


FORMER GREEK finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has told Theresa May what he believes she should do to ensure that Brexit is a success. Mr Varoufakis told the Prime Minister to “stop” the Brexit negotiations right now, as neither side wants a “mutually advantageous” deal.

The former finance minister also claimed that the negotiations were “designed to fail”, as he said the UK should seek a Norway-style agreement. When asked whether the Prime Minister should seek to leave the European Union without a deal, Mr Varoufakis said that would be the “worst option”.

He said: “At the same time these negotiations are designed to fail. “The tragedy we are facing in Europe and in Britain is that neither the British Government nor the representatives of the European Union are interested in a neutrally advantageous agreement.

This is a political failure. “My advice to Theresa May is very simple, stop these negotiations.

“They will produce discontent and a very bad economic outcome and simply file an application for a Norway-style agreement.”

The former Greek finance minister was then asked again by the Bloomberg reporter if it would be “best” for Britain to just walk away from the EU without a deal. He replied: “No, not at all. Britain has been so integrated into the infrastructure of the European Union that, what you call a ‘clean break’, I call a ‘hard-Brexit’ is going to sever those links.

“That would be detrimental to the vast majority of people in Britain. “The Norway-style agreement would allow them to respect Brexit, outside the European Union while maintaining a period of continuity, which is absolutely essential.”

Adopting a Norway-style agreement would mean Britain would stay in the single market but would have to accept the EU’s freedoms, including freedom of movement. The comments come as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned the UK that it had to “make up its mind” on what it wants from the next round of negotiations.

The Frenchman said: “Mrs May has asked to benefit from the single market and the customs union for a short period after this. “The European Council has indicated its readiness to consider this request. The conditions are clear, very clear. Everyone has to play by the same rules.

We need clarity on the UK proposals for the future partnership. “The only thing I can say, without customs union, and outside the single market, barriers to trade and good and services are unavoidable. Time has come to make choice.” In response, the Brexit Secretary insisted that the UK had been “perfectly clear” in setting out what it wanted from the second round of talks. This week Downing Street confirmed that Britain would be leaving the customs union when it leaves the EU.