EU economy commissioner says Brexit ‘illusion’ becoming clearer for Britain

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Former Italian prime minister ‘optimistic’ about new UK government’s attitude to working with EU

The European commissioner in charge of economy Paolo Gentiloni. 'Overall I think we have a large majority in the European Parliament of pro-European political positions'as prime minister of a new Labour government would provide a platform for closer co-operation between the UK and the EU, particularly on things like security and defence, the commissioner said.

Ireland has nominated former finance minister Michael McGrath, with the Government expected to make a big push to land a finance-related portfolio. The commissioner for the economy, which also covers tax policy, is regarded as one of the more important financial briefs. Ireland’s status as an outlier on corporate tax rates has likely ruled it out of consideration for the position in recent times.

Funding raised by the European Commission for member states contributed to a “spectacular recovery” from the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. This scheme was then “readapted” to help countries cope with the energy and inflation crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Migration should not be used as a political football, as extreme nationalists sought to do, the commissioner said. “All the reasonable political parties should work on the subject without using the subject to trigger hate and division. We have to live with migration; if you look to the labour market it is obvious that we need legal migration.”


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