EU Internal Policy

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: The epic delusion of Europe’s failing elite who ignore the litany of problems on their doorsteps while pursuing the disastrous political project

It was impossible to miss the clunking symbolism of yesterday’s meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande on Ventotene, the island regarded as the birthplace of the European Project.

Doesn’t the decision to hold a major summit at the place where, during the Second World War, Altiero Spinelli wrote his manifesto for European Federalism, only underline that Europe’s leaders are wilfully drawing the wrong conclusions from our historic Brexit vote?

Shouldn’t the referendum have sent a resounding warning about how out-of-touch the continent’s elite has become and how urgently the EU must reform?

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande arrive for their meeting in Ventotene island, Tirreno sea, Italy

Instead, they appear hell-bent on blindly ignoring the litany of problems on their doorsteps while pursuing the disastrous political project to which they are so ideologically and viscerally wedded.

Since the vote, the UK has defied all the shrill warnings of economic collapse, with shares rebounding and retail sales up (yes, the pound is weaker, but that’s a boon for exporters and domestic tourism).

Europe, by contrast, is still failing to confront both the refugee crisis and Islamist terrorism. So grave are its economic problems that Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warns it is on the brink of a ‘cataclysmic event’.

Meanwhile, the man supposedly in charge of the EU as it veers from crisis to crisis, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, makes the astonishingly ignorant statement that national borders are the ‘worst invention ever made by politicians’.

It was hard to miss the clunking symbolism of yesterday’s meeting between Mrs Merkel, Mr Renzi and Mr Hollande on Ventotene, the island birthplace of the European Project

Merkel and Hollande received by Renzi ahead of Brexit summit

As they return from a well-deserved summer break, Theresa May and her trio of Brexit ministers, Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson, should ignore the bleating from the continent about hurrying up.

The pace of Brexit will be dictated by Britain alone.

Ministers should also treat with disdain the thinly-veiled threat from Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, who suggested Brexit could be made deliberately ‘more difficult’ if the UK cuts corporation tax.

The freedom to lower taxes is in our national interest and that is all that should concern ministers.

Indeed, every utterance from Europe’s leaders since June 23 has reinforced this newspaper’s belief that the historic referendum result was the right one for this country’s future.

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