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The London skyline is seen from the Shard, the tallest building in the European Union, as the sun sets on March 28, 2017 in London, England.
Yet, Frieden, who has, at various times, served as Luxembourg’s Minister for several portfolios including Finance, Defence, Justice and Treasury and Budget, points to the example of Switzerland when he asserts that the U.K. will not be able to maintain these benefits.
“I think the United Kingdom can in no way get this passport in the future. Look at the Swiss. The Swiss have always asked for this and they’ve never got it,” he declared.
“In these negotiations we always have to keep in mind that we have a partner and a friend that is Switzerland. So these negotiations – Brexit – and the ongoing negotiations with Switzerland have to be kept in mind and have to develop in parallel,” Frieden explained.
Articulating his vision for the future of the trading bloc, Frieden says he believes there should be a core Europe which resembles a much more federalist structure with some circles around it. One circle could represent countries within the single market and then a further circle, for countries such as the U.K. and Switzerland where the ties are much looser.
“A kind of Olympic Rings model for the European Union is probably the most realistic one. It’s not an ‘a la carte’ as that will be too chaotic,” he opined.
Speaking to the renewed vigor in the union since the May election of French President Emmanuel Macron who ran on a strongly pro-European platform, Frieden said that now is the time for member states to seize upon the momentum and deepen their internal relations.
“Suddenly Europe becomes again something positive. People dare to talk about Europe,” he affirmed.