The European Commission, the notionally neutral body which serves as the sole initiator of EU-level legislation as well as the bloc’s executive, has launched an astonishing attack on the British prime minister.
Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, disparaged Boris Johnson as “an unelected prime minister” — a slur seemingly based on poor knowledge of the British constitution, in which prime ministers, like Irish taoiseachs, are not directly elected — with delusions of Churchillian grandeur, The Times reports.
The 59-year-old Irishman sneered that Johnson “view[s] himself as a modern-day Churchilll. However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government’s only Churchillian legacy will be: never have so few done so much damage to so many.”
Last week @BorisJohnson became Prime Minister.
He’s the ninth person to come into office between elections since the 1940s, and the first @Conservatives leader chosen by party members.
Find out more about UK Prime Ministers since 1721 from our briefing https://t.co/Iy5dfkV5Kv
— Commons Library (@commonslibrary) July 31, 2019
“If the UK fails to prevent a crash-out Brexit” — anti-Brexiteers’ prefered term for a clean break with the EU and a reversion to standard World Trade Organization (WTO) terms — “they should be under no illusion regarding the foul atmosphere they will create with their EU partners and the serious consequences this will have for negotiating any future trade agreement,” Hogan threatened.
“The UK continues to negotiate based on its experience of being an EU member. This misses the point completely: from the moment the UK came back to Brussels with the infamous red lines, the EU has negotiated on the basis of the UK opting for third-country status,” he added darkly.
However, it is the Republic of Ireland which Commissioner Hogan hails from which may be hit hardest by a truly “hard” Brexit, with the United Kingdom being its most important trading partner by far, as well as the conduit for almost all of its trade and flight paths with Continental Europe.
The blow would fall particularly heavily on Ireland’s farmers, for whom Hogan is supposed to be responsible, with the Irish agriculture minister having warned that the country will need a “mega-money” bailout to survive.
Ireland Admits It Will Need Emergency Aid to Survive ‘No Deal’ Brexit https://t.co/Sew8I8HkK0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 4, 2019
A source within Boris Johnson’s government told The Times that the EU was “playing games” and chided the bloc for indulging in “Deliberate personal attacks” of the sort which “led to the failure to secure a deal last time”.
The source added that, if Brussels was serious about avoiding No Deal, it would drop the “toxic” backstop it insisted on in its negotiations with Theresa May, which “would leave the EU in control of laws and taxes without democratic accountability” and has been deemed inaccpetable by the current administration.