Michael Portillo questioned why more Brexiteers were not “gloating” about the ongoing EU financial and political crisis. The Times Radio host noted the two points he would make about the EU crisis if he was still in a cabinet position today. In July, the EU ended four days of talks by agreeing a 750 billion euro recovery package to help those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Discussing the recent summit, the former Conservative cabinet minister told Times Radio listeners: “I supported Brexit and I would have been inclined were I still in government to make two points.
“First, that the UK is very well out of this recovery deal, that we are not liable for our share of this 750 billion euros.
“Second, as was being warned, the EU is under pressure to integrate, to become more federal.
“It is a political union as well as a fiscal union and unless it does integrate, the euro may not survive the strains.”
He continued: “But, I have not heard British politicians making those points. You would have thought Brexiteers might have done.”
Times Radio’s Special Correspondent Ross Kempsell responded: “There have been some interventions from Brexiteers like Nigel Farage and some others.
“But there hasn’t been a mainstream discussion of this by UK ministers because of the contention there is still over the free trade deals around the world and pushing further negotiations with the EU.
“This is all very much still in play and that’s why perhaps we haven’t heard as much gloating from UK ministers as you suggest.”
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the final package as “a historic change of our Europe and eurozone”.
German leader Angela Merkel told reporters she was “very happy” with the deal and felt “relieved”.
However, there is growing concern that the agreement could soon unravel already, with Italy headed for economic crisis.
New Italian treasury data shows that €39bn of repayments to the EU are due in September, a further €39bn in October, and €42bn in November.
The combination of these roll-overs and the fiscal shock of the pandemic may push Italy’s financing costs to almost half a trillion euros this year.