Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has given a damning assessment of post-EU referendum UK, describing it as a “waning country” that faces “insurmountable” problems due to Brexit, in an interview with a leading Spanish newspaper.
In the interview with El Pais, Rutte, who has been the Dutch PM since 2010, gave his stark evaluation of Britain’s fortunes since the 2016 Brexit vote. He warned that hundreds of UK companies were planning to relocate to the Netherlands, because the country has lost its standing in the world.
Rutte claimed: “It is already weakening, it is a waning country compared to two or three years ago. It is going to become an economy of intermediate size in a place of the Atlantic Ocean.
“It is neither the US nor the EU. It is too small to appear on the world stage on its own.”
It comes after some 250 UK-based firms are reportedly in the process of relocating to one of Britain’s closest EU allies so that they can retain access to the single market and continue to enjoy frictionless trade.
Rutte has also stated in an interview with the Financial Times, that every business person he’s spoken to in the UK is planning to “cut investments, cut their business in the UK.” He added that Britain was a “more diminished country”compared to several years ago, pre-Brexit referendum.
It comes as UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons on her Brexit deal – with her own Tory Brexiteer hardliners from the European Research Group (ERG) voting it down, proving once again the significant power they wield.
May now has until February 27 to broker the necessary changes on the Irish backstop to enable her deal to pass through UK parliament and avoid a no-deal scenario, before Brexit day on March 29.