Brussels humiliated as Brexit Britain retains top spot for start-up investments

Brexit: EU ‘damaged trust’ in UK negotiations says MEP

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According to the latest annual barometer of the EY firm published today, €39billion (£34billion) was invested in 2020 in European start-ups. The amount is up 17 percent compared to 2019. And in a blow to those who predicted a catastrophe for the UK after Brexit, the report found that more than one in three investments were made into British and UK-based start-ups.

EY found that €14billion (£12billion) was invested in the UK in 2020 alone.

Celebrating the UK success, Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois tweeted: “The UK remains the epicentre of investment in start-ups.

“They doubled.

“One in three European investments goes to the UK.

“The start-up nation is outside the EU.”

The report comes as MEPs debated Brexit for the last time in the European Parliament this morning, before voting on its final ratification.

The vote will be the final step towards ratification of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement, struck in December after more than four years of acrimonious negotiations and lingering mistrust as Britain ended 47 years of EU membership.

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier MEPs ahead of the vote: “This is a divorce. It is a warning, Brexit. It’s a failure of the European Union and we have to learn lessons from it.

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“Why did 52 percent of the British vote against Europe?… Our duty is to listen and understand the feelings of the people.”

The accord crafted in the last days of 2020 only entered force on a provisional basis until the end of April, pending approval from the European Parliament. Lawmakers will vote late on Tuesday, with the outcome made public on Wednesday morning.

There is no doubt that they will back the deal, after assembly committees earlier cleared it by 108 votes to 1.

If they did not, EU-UK ties would fall back to basic World Trade Organisation terms, with quotas and tariffs.

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However, there had been some doubt the vote would go ahead as parliament protested against British changes to trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, a unilateral move that prompted Brussels to launch legal action.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the trade agreement gave each side tools – dispute settlement and the potential imposition of tariffs – to ensure compliance with the accord and the Brexit divorce deal.

She said: “Let me be clear: we do not want to have to use these tools.

“But we will not hesitate to use them if necessary.”

Once parliament has given its consent, the 27 EU countries are expected to rubber-stamp the deal.

The bloc will then inform Britain and the trade agreement will formally be concluded.

The lawmakers are also voting on a 17-page accompanying resolution, calling Brexit a “historic mistake” and urging the Commission to continue its legal action against London.

The text says parliament also regrets the limited scope of the deal, without cooperation on foreign policy or student exchanges, and noting that opportunities for Britain’s largely service-based economy are “vastly reduced.”

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