The strange story of European understanding of Brexit continues. The Italian press quotes the British Minister for Brexit, Dominic Raab, that in the event of the two sides being unable to agree a trade deal, Britain would not be paying its leaving bill of around €40 billion.
In a sharp turnaround, arch remainer Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has confirmed that in the event of no deal, EU countries would suffer more than Britain.
The BBC News, by contrast, said that Dominic Raab would not be able to withhold the money because it had already been promised. I am afraid the BBC is not on Britain’s side here. My only problem with Raab’s statement is that it is an announcement of the obvious. Of course we won’t pay.
Here in Italy, Roberto Moncalvo, the head of Coldiretti, the Farmers Union, has spoken in apocalyptic terms, simply of Britain leaving, not of the ‘no deal’ scenario. Italy is a similar sized country to Britain, yet has more than six times as many farms, each hungry for subsidy; Mr. Moncalvo is an important man.
The loss of Britain’s net contribution will mean cutbacks to subsidies and Italian farmers know it will hit them hard. The press here are warning that Britain could suffer shortages of peppers, aubergines, prosecco (disaster!) and such vital products.