Brexit due to 'decades' of British blame, says EU trade chief Malmstr?m

Malmstr?m was speaking after a US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- the proposed pact will create the world's largest free trade area -- event. The controversy surrounding the deal had nothing to do with Brexit, said Malmstr?m. Photograph:( Getty )

AFP Washington, United States Jun 30, 2016, 04.56 AM (IST)
Britain's decision to quit the European Union stemmed from entrenched finger-pointing by British officials and had nothing to do with a proposed trans-Atlantic trade pact, an EU official said on Wednesday.

"In the UK, if you have a situation for decades where the leading politicians blamed all the errors of the world on the EU, you can't expect to love the EU in a two-week campaign nationally," said Cecilia Malmstr?m, the EU trade commissioner, who was visiting Washington.

"There's also a need to reflect upon how they treat the European Union," she added, remarking on the shock British referendum on Thursday that supported a Brexit.

The EU trade chief was speaking to reporters after participating in an event sponsored by the Atlantic Council on the proposed US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would create the world's largest free trade and investment area.

Malmstr?m said Brexit was not linked to the controversy surrounding the proposed pact.

"Because of a lack of transparency of TTIP? No, I don't think so, that would be a totally wrong conclusion," she insisted.

Both sides have stressed a willingness to clinch the deal despite Britain's looming exit.

At the Atlantic Council event, Malmstr?m said that "the TTIP will survive the Brexit."

"The rationale is even stronger now."