Brexit will cause a “lot of damage” to the United Kingdom and the negotiations look like “mission impossible”, a senior MEP has warned.
Manfred Weber, the German leader of the centre-right European People’s Party in the European Parliament, said British politicians had failed to explain to their voters what the EU was really about.
“When I have a look at the content and topics on the table, for me it is still mission impossible ahead of us, how we can manage this,” he told a press conference in Strasbourg this morning.
“This will create lot of damage especially for the Brits for sure - nobody had the wish to do this, but it is the reality.”
In a sign he wanted the EU to drive a hard bargain with the UK, Weber said the negotiations must show European voters that it is “better to reform the EU than to destroy the EU”.
“This will not be an easy task ahead of us, especially having in mind to defend the interests of the European Union,” Weber said.
“None of the British politicians ever explained to people in Great Britain what is Europe, nobody. And with Brexit everybody will understand this, in a negative way.”
Theresa May hopes to tigger Article 50 - the formal process of leaving the EU - before the end of March.
Yesterday Brexit secretary David Davis acknowledged the government expects the House of Lords to amend the legislation needed to begin the Brexit process.