Nicolas Bay also believes there is a good prospect of a trade deal with the United States to offset the damage of a hard Brexit – and warned Ireland in particular would be very badly affected by such an outcome. Mr Bay, who is the general secretary of the right-wing National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen, delivered a fiery speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday in which he suggested failure to strike a deal would be much worse for the EU than the UK.
And speaking to Express.co.uk subsequently, he spelled out his reasons in more detail.
He said: “The worst-case scenario would certainly be a poorly prepared no-deal, an anarchic situation.
“The interests are huge on both sides, our economies are at similar levels and produce different goods: the absence of a trade agreement would leave entire sectors vulnerable, tens of thousands of jobs on both sides.
“This is particularly true for the French-British relationship.
“But the UK could probably turn around quickly thanks to the Commonwealth.
“The political, cultural and linguistic proximity to the entire Anglo-Saxon world would allow your country to quickly compensate.”
Mr Bay also suggested being out of the EU would enable the UK to focus on its own interests without having to factor in the economies of 27 other member states.
He explained: “In addition, the United Kingdom would once again be able, if necessary, to set tariffs on certain strategic products to protect its economy while allowing other goods to arrive untaxed.
“All in all, the UK would therefore be better equipped to absorb the shock of a no-deal than some EU countries.”
Ray Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, likewise believes the UK will be able to prosper outside of the bloc by striking what he termed an “Anglophone alliance” with the USA and Canada.
In his recently published book, Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, Mr Bassett, wrote: “Despite the short-term quixotic behaviour of the Trump administration, there is every possibility of the emergence of an Anglophone North Atlantic free trade area, encompassing the USA, Canada and Britain.
“This would form part of an alternative trade strategy for the UK, post Brexit.”
As for his own country, he adds: “When Ireland’s two biggest trading partners start moving towards a mutually beneficial new agreement, it is time to take serious note.
“While US relations with the UK are likely to warm considerably in the next few years, the same cannot be said for EU-US relations, which have been under strain since President Trump was elected in the USA in 2016.
“Ireland has a huge interest in maintaining harmonious relations between Brussels and Washington.
“However, it is doubtful if Ireland’s interest will be a major consideration for the EU Commission and its relations with Washington.
“It will be primarily concerned with bigger ticket items, like German car exports and that country’s investment in the USA.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)
Published at Mon, 26 Oct 2020 15:38:00 +0000