DUTCH politician Thierry Baudet tore into the European Union’s Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier during a speech in Parliament on Thursday – insisting the Netherlands will put a stop to an EU plot to “punish” Britain.
Thierry Baudet, who led the Forum for Democracy party through a stunning surge in the polls in the Netherlands, warned that the only thing “standing in the way” of a "fair" Brexit deal is Michel Barnier.
He said: “The European Union has a wonderful agreement with Switzerland, it has a wonderful agreement with Norway.
“It also needs to make such a deal with the UK. And the only man standing in the way of reaching a fair agreement is this Barnier.”
Mr Baudet hit out at the European Union and warned that no Brexit deal on financial services would be “simply ridiculous”.
Mr Baudet said: “It is in our very own self-interest to reach a good agreement in which we mutually recognise each others’ products. And not just with regards to goods, but of services as well.
“And such a deal is entirely possible. Barnier himself was the one to add financial services to the TTIP agreement.
“He stated, during the TTIP-talks, that financial services could indeed be part of the negotiations. If he says it can’t be done, that would, frankly, be simply ridiculous.”
Mr Baudet warned that a no-deal Brexit would prove “detrimental” to the Netherlands.
Mr Baudet added: “It’s very important to realise, here in Parliament but also in the European Council, that the only obstacle to reaching an agreement is the European Union’s objective, as the bureaucratic monster it is, to prove a point.”
The Dutch politician ripped into the Brussels bloc and said: “To say, ‘if you leave us we’ll punish you. Look how powerful we are, look how tough we are’.
“That is the only reason we would not be able to come to an agreement.”
The Dutch politician concluded and warned that the European Council has the power to "correct" the Brexit deal.
He said: “So that is what the Netherlands should do in the council, prioritise the economic interests of the member states, and not lose itself in cheap political games.”
Mr Baudet has led his party on a stunning trajectory since being founded in 2016 with a series of canny online campaigning.
Forum for Democracy is now only eight percent behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party, according to polling data released in February.
In March, Mr Barnier and Brexit Secretary David Davis presented the latest Brexit deal proposals since the end of the first phase of talks in December.
Mr Barnier and Davis described the deal as a “decisive step” that will lead to the “orderly withdrawal” of the UK.
The pair also agreed the transitional period will last from March 29, 2019, to December 2020. But some issues, including the Irish border, remain unresolved.