Brexit trade talks saw the EU27 put up a largely united front against the UK and Brussels aimed to win the most favourable agreement possible. A deal was eventually reached, but the recent vaccine row and clashes over Northern Ireland have shown that UK-European relations have suffered since the referendum in 2016. This was evident when a Government minister in Denmark branded the UK a “small nation” that does not yet realise its status. He suggested that Britain’s days as a global power had been and gone and that Brexit would be a “disaster for the UK”.
Mr Jensen continued: “There are two kinds of European nations, there are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realised they are small nations.
“It is a paradox that the country that once had an empire on which the sun never sets, that ruled the waves, that in its heart is truly global, is now drawing back from the world’s most successful free trade area. It is a paradox that I cannot get.
“I had the privilege of meeting Boris Johnson shortly after he took office. Bojo said to me: ‘Come on Kristian, don’t be so sad, there must be something good about Brexit’. I just shook my head and said: ‘No. There is nothing.’”
Speaking to the media after his speech, Mr Jensen continued his onslaught.
He said: “There is still this notion in some countries that because they have been the rulers of the 20th century they will continue to be that in the 21st century.
“They [the UK] are a member of all these groups [G7, G20, UN permanent security council] but what has happened to the value of the pound since Brexit? What will happen in the coming years when the finance sector is perhaps looking to Frankfurt or Paris?
“What will happen when inflation rises? How will they be in the future? I am very concerned about Britain’s economy right now … I think France will be the spokesperson for the EU [on the security council].”
Denmark was a country with notable concerns regarding Brexit.
The country joined the European Community (as it was then known) at the same time as the UK in 1973, and largely because of the UK, given the extent to which the economies were interlinked.
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Following the deal’s approval in December, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association, Svend Erik-Andersen, warned that livelihoods could be lost as Denmark’s quota reduces.
He said: “This is very serious. We expect fishermen to lose their livelihoods, and it will be a hard blow against Denmark and against North and West Jutland, where fishing plays a special role and is the lifeblood of many local communities.
“I have deep sympathy for the people who risk losing their jobs and livelihoods as a result of this unfair deal.
“This applies to our own members. And this applies to those who are employed in the follow-up industries around the fishing ports.
“It is very worrying that the bill for Brexit hits some fishermen harder than others. It seems that the consumer fishery will pay an unreasonably large share of the price for access, and it can be devastating for their business.”