Blog: Brexit vindicated after europhile Mark Rutte predicted UK would ‘diminish’ without EU – Express

Brexit will ‘DIMINISH’ the UK claims Mark Rutte

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Mr Rutte made a grovelling apology last week after admitting he had made an “error of judgement” in scrapping most coronavirus restrictions in the country. The easing led to a surge in infections as the Netherland‘s nightlife returned. He had previously refused to acknowledge his misgivings, maintaining that it was a “logical step” towards a post-pandemic world.

It isn’t the first time Mr Rutte has had to say sorry in recent times: he and his whole government apologised for the child welfare fraud scandal in January.

His cabinet shortly resigned and are currently in a caretaker role until after the pandemic.

Mr Rutte may also need to send an apology across the North Sea to the UK for his comments on Brexit.

In 2019, he was steadfast in the opinion that Brexit was to “diminish” Britain for good.

His words came ahead of the Conservative Party leadership challenge.

Brexit: Mark Rutte predicted that the UK would 'diminish' post-Brexit

Brexit: Mark Rutte predicted that the UK would ‘diminish’ post-Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Mark Rutte: The Netherland's PM is currently part of a caretaker government

Mark Rutte: The Netherland’s PM is currently part of a caretaker government (Image: GETTY)

He said that no Prime Minister would be able to mitigate the economic impact of Brexit on the UK or sustain its global power.

Speaking ahead of the European Council summit in Brussels, he told BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program: “With a hard Brexit — even with a normal Brexit — the UK will be a different country.

“It will be a diminished country.

“It is unavoidable.

“Because you are not any longer part of the European Union and you are not big enough to have an important position, important enough on the world stage, on your own.”

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Downing Street: Rutte pictured outside No 10 in 2019

Downing Street: Rutte pictured outside No 10 in 2019 (Image: GETTY)

Mr Rutte’s words appear not to have aged well.

The UK has continued on its global path, even pressing ahead with its project, “Global Britain”.

It also secured rolled over deals with countless countries it had while a part of the EU.

One notable agreement came with Japan last October.

The UK even went on to secure a landmark trade deal with Australia – the first of its kind it had negotiated in decades and outside the EU.

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World leaders: Rutte and Johnson at a world leader's summit this year

World leaders: Rutte and Johnson at a world leader’s summit this year (Image: GETTY)

Australia: The UK secured a free trade deal with Australia in Jue

Australia: The UK secured a free trade deal with Australia in Jue (Image: GETTY)

It will mean increased tariff free trade between the two countries moving forward.

Around the same time of Mr Rutte’s comments many reports and studies painted an equally bleak picture for the EU without the UK.

In a paper published by the Centre for European Reform (CER) in 2019, it was suggested that the bloc will become “more politically fragmented” post-Brexit.

This was in part, it said, because the “European Commission and Parliament will be less likely to reflect British ways of thinking and working”.

Brexit timeline: The key dates in the run-up to the UK's exit

Brexit timeline: The key dates in the run-up to the UK’s exit (Image: Express Newspapers)

The report said: “The new European Parliament will be more politically fragmented and less likely to back freer trade with third countries and market liberalisation internally.”

It did note, however, that this would not be a direct result of Brexit, but “because of the evolution of politics in the EU.”

Yet, it added: “The departure of British MEPs from the European Parliament will, however, reinforce this trend.

“Conservative and Labour MEPs often worked hand in hand to support economically liberal policies.

Italexit: Many countries in Europe have growing anti-EU movements like Italexit in Italy

Italexit: Many countries in Europe have growing anti-EU movements like Italexit in Italy (Image: GETTY)

“Populist parties, more supportive of protectionist policies, are expected to do well in the May European Parliament elections.

“Such parties are also likely to benefit disproportionately from the redistribution of 27 of the UK’s current seats among the remaining member-states.

“France and Spain will gain five each, and Italy three; and opinion polls suggest that eurosceptic parties could come out on top in the European Parliament elections in France and Italy.”

Eurosceptic parties went on to make major gains at the European elections in 2019, as well as environmentalist and liberal parties.

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