EU Can’t Waste Two Years on Brexit Paradox, Italy’s Calenda Says

  • Minister says EU should respond if U.K. curbs free movement
  • Calenda says EU needs to speed up process of unity, trade

U.K. Needs to Make Haste in Brexit Talks, Says Calenda

The U.K. needs to hurry up and decide on how to exit the European Union, and should be ready to face curbs on exports to the bloc when it does so, said Italy’s economic development minister.

“Once they have decided we need to move forward, it is fundamental for us to speed up the process of unity on migration, trade and so on,” Carlo Calenda told Flavia Rotondi in an interview on Bloomberg Television at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy. “We cannot waste two years by negotiating with the U.K. how to maintain them inside without them wanting to be inside. We cannot afford this paradox.”

Calenda struck the most aggressive tone yet on Brexit from an Italian government minister, reflecting the sentiment of some of the country’s business elite at the annual gathering on Lake Como. A few days ago, British Prime Minister Theresa May suggested she wanted to curtail free movement of EU citizens. In Cernobbio, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told business leaders on Friday that the U.K.’s future relationship with the bloc should be that of “best friend.”

“The more they are going to regulate and limit the presence of EU citizens in the U.K, the more we are going to limit the presence of U.K. goods into Europe,” said Calenda. “There should be a balance there. You cannot be here in the single market but at the same time excluding some part of the European relationship which is very important.”

Calenda was previously Italy’s envoy in Brussels.

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