The warning came from Marco Zanni, the leader of the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament. The Italian MEP called on the EU to look back at Brexit and the pandemic as an opportunity to learn from Britain.
Mr Zanni urged Brussels to stop fighting Britain’s choice to leave the EU and to rather take the UK as an example after its vaccination rollout success.
Speaking in the European Parliament today, he said: “In my opinion, the next G7 is a fundamental opportunity for the European Union, an opportunity to listen, an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to analyse some strategic errors that unfortunately the Union has committed on very important issues and which it will be good to correct in the future.
“The first theme is our relationship with the United Kingdom and with a country that, despite what has happened, must still be a country from which we have a lot to learn.
“The United Kingdom, which will host this forum, is a country that will emerge stronger and healthier than the European Union from this pandemic.
“The economy will run faster, the vaccination campaign, contrary to what happened here, was a success and I think this is an excellent opportunity to bury the hatchet with the United Kingdom to accept what has been a choice of British citizens and to renew a new cooperation with a country that is strategic and very important for us.”
The warning came ahead of talks between the UK and Brussels aimed at resolving an ongoing dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol.
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British and EU officials failed on Wednesday to agree any solutions to ease post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland and exchanged threats in a standoff that could cloud a weekend international summit.
Since Britain completed a tortuous exit from the EU late last year, its relations with Brussels have soured further, with both sides accusing each other of bad faith over a part of their trade deal that covers goods movements to Northern Ireland.
The row has been dubbed the “sausage war” because it affects the movement of chilled meats from Britain to Northern Ireland.
Today it stepped up a gear, with Britain saying it could again unilaterally extend a grace period for introducing checks on some goods, and the EU saying it could advance its legal action, a step that could end in tariffs and quotas.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a summit of the world’s seven largest advanced economies this weekend at a seaside village in southwestern England to showcase what he calls “global Britain”.
But he could receive a warning from U.S. President Joe Biden, who, according to the Times newspaper, will tell London to respect a deal with the EU that was designed to protect a 23-year-old peace settlement in Northern Ireland.
In the latest round of talks, British Brexit minister David Frost, who is also expected to attend the summit, met European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic in London to try to resolve the differences over the Northern Ireland protocol.
“We had some pretty frank and honest discussions…
“There weren’t any breakthroughs. There aren’t any breakdowns either, and we are going to carry on talking,” Frost told reporters.
“What we now need to do is very urgently find some solutions.”
A senior UK source close to the talks said all options were on the table if there was no agreement, including London extending a grace period that waives checks on goods moving to Northern Ireland beyond the June 30 end-date that it has set.
Sefcovic responded in kind, saying the EU was considering advancing its legal challenge over Britain’s actions in Northern Ireland, which could result in a court case by autumn or the eventual imposition of tariffs and quotas.