‘Fantasy’ to think others will follow Brexit, Moscovici tells Trump

Economic affairs commissioner says cost of leaving EU will stop other countries

European economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici: he warned Trump that comments advocating a break-up of the EU would not get the transatlantic relationship off to the best start. Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

European economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici: he warned Trump that comments advocating a break-up of the EU would not get the transatlantic relationship off to the best start. Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

 

It is fantasy to think other European countries will follow Britain in deciding to leave the European Union, a top European official said on Monday, after US president-elect Donald Trump said he believed it would be the case.

Asked about Trump’s comments in an interview with the Times newspaper, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the cost of Brexit would be “considerable” and that it would deter other countries from following suit.

‘Europe must not be naive’

“I’m not worried, I think this idea that Brexit is going to be contagious is a fantasy, a bad fantasy,” Moscovici told reporters in Paris.

“Brexit is not a great thing,” he said and warned Trump that comments advocating a break-up of the European Union would not get the transatlantic relationship off to the best start.

Europe’s best response until Trump’s inauguration would be to remain in “wait-and-see” mode and watch the first steps of its new administration.

But asked about Trump’s comments on slapping tariffs on German car makers such as BMW, which sought to import cars to the US from plants in Mexico, Moscovici said: “We must be extremely vigilant, mobilised and, when the time comes, reactive, if a certain spirit is confirmed.

“Europe must not be naive and Europe must be able to react,” he said.