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And with the Brexit transition period coming to an end on December 31, Professor Zdzislaw Krasnodebski said he and many of his colleagues fully understood Britain’s reasons for quitting the bloc. Prof Krasnodebski, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and the head of the ECR’s EU Reform Working Group, said the bloc was at a dangerous crossroads. He told Express.co.uk: “We now have this pandemic crisis which also makes weaker states weaker and stronger ones stronger.
“I think in many cases Brussels has been struggling to exert pressure on member states.”
Highlighting dissatisfaction within Italy, he warned: “Salvini was very critical of the EU’s immigration policy but also the euro, and some political scientists have said it will be the next country which will leave the union because of the eurozone – but it was controlled by the change of Government.”
Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of wide-ranging reforms to counter the tendency towards centralisation.
Prof Krasnodebski acknowledged the way the bloc had developed, and the push for an “ever closer union”, had been a catalyst for Brexit.
He said: “I always thought that the reasons for Brexit was not just a sudden decision of the British people but also due to the internal problems and evolution of the EU.
“We regret, of course, that our British colleagues left.
“The official line of the Parliament is that Michel Barnier is negotiating on behalf of the whole union, all the countries and all states.
“But I can say in my personal opinion and for us in Parliament, partnership with Britain is important.”
Prof Krasnodebski said he could see “a great amount of rationality” in British determination not to be bound by EU regulations after the end of the year.
The level-playing field argument was also used as an excuse for defending EU interests, he suggested.
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He added: “It is in the interests of the EU, of continental Europe to have a free exchange with Great Britain.
“We should not be inclined to force our laws on Great Britain.”
Prof Krasnodebski said: “I can’t speak for my country but I think there are many colleagues in the same political group, probably when we are talking about it we share this view that they should be more flexible.
“And sometimes we have an impression that maybe this is because of this attitude that no country can be better off outside of the union than inside.”
Speaking last week, Prof Krasnodebski called for a “truly open and fair debate” on the future of Europe.
He said: “We believe that efforts should be made to restore the Union as a European community of sovereign nations, based on a Eurorealistic vision of a confederate Europe that respects the rights and democratic legitimacy of the Member States.
“We must strengthen its spiritual foundations.
“If we are to learn anything from the history of the 20th Century, then it should be to understand how dangerous it can be to attempt to completely rebuild societies.”
He added: “Nations feel that they are slowly being deprived of the right to self-determination.
“And citizens see that the EU is increasingly interfering with their lives.
“The European Union is becoming more and more detached from being European, turning its back on its cultural, philosophical and religious traditions.
“We must make it European again in the proper sense of the word.”
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