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Zeman: Brexit to harm EU free trade zone

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Prague, June 26 (CTK) – Britain’s departure from the EU may harm its free trade zone and political relations between Britain and the EU will worsen because the European top officials will feel offended, Czech President Milos Zeman said in an interview with the Prima commercial television station on Sunday.

Zeman said he did not think other countries would now follow suit, but he expected Scotland’s leaving Britain.

The loss of Britain will harm smaller countries whose negotiating position in the EU will worsen because until now they could rely on the British attitude, Zeman said.

The main say in Europe will go to the German-French tandem, in which Germany will have the bigger influence, he added.

“It is necessary to build at least such a strong group of countries that will be able to serve as a blocking minority in the votes in the EU,” Zeman said, adding that after the Polish election, the Visegrad Four (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) was unified and that it was joined by other countries such as Finland, Italy and partly also Denmark.

Zeman said Britain’s departure was a both economic and political loss.

The EU creates a specific free trade zone. Now it can be expected to be harmed.

Brexit can also affect Czech exports if Britain builds protectionist barriers, Zeman said.

He said he could see an impact on Britain itself.

Zeman is of the view that Scotland will win an independence referendum, after which it will enter the EU, which will largely affect the British economy.

It is a matter of further considerations whether Britons took into account this effect, Zeman said.

He said he was afraid the Brexit would put an end to the Britain in its current form.

Britain’s prepared departure can also be blamed on EU’s senior officials, he added.

“The European Commission should be also partly blamed. All blame cannot be solely laid on Britons,” Zeman said.

He said he expected European politicians to feel offended by Britain’s leaving the EU, due to which bilateral political relations would become cooler.

This is why he expected the EU to insist on speeding up Britain’s departure.

Zeman said he would welcome the transient Brexit period to be prolonged from two to five years, but this was not realistic.

Fears of migrant crisis was the main reason for the Brexit, he added.

The outcome of the referendum will also affect the negotiations about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA, Zeman said.

He said the treaty was threatened and now two treaties, one special for Britain, will have to be agreed on.

Zeman said he understood the intention of British Prime Minister David Cameron to only leave his post in October.

He said it was comprehensible that Cameron at first wanted to “clean the table,” which took some time.

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