LONDON: The European Union will make Brexit “very painful” for Britain, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said in an interview published Monday, adding that London was “bluffing” over its pre-Brexit negotiating power.
“The EU will take this opportunity to show the public: ‘Listen guys, now you will see why it is important to stay in the EU’. This will be the position,” Fico, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told the Financial Times.
Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly insisted that Britain will “make a success of Brexit”, but has yet to set out whether she will be pushing for continued access to the EU single market, or the extent of controls on immigration.
“They are bluffing,” Fico said of London’s confidence, adding: “Even if it is the fifth-biggest economy in the world—I understand their financial importance—this will still be very painful for the UK.”
European Union leaders met Friday without Britain in their second summit since the country’s June referendum vote to leave the European Union.
In the Slovak capital Bratislava, they agreed to forge a new “vision” within six months to restore faith and unity in the bloc. AFP