EU’s ‘unfriendly behaviour’ to UK called out as trade figures show value of Brexit Britain

Jacob Rees-Mogg says EU was ‘very cross’ about Brexit

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The figures, released by the European Commission’s statistical branch Eurostat last month, show that exports to the UK from the EU grew more between 2021 and 2022 than any other nation, making Brexit Britain a vital trading partner to the bloc. These unexpected figures have led to derision from Brexit supporters, with some questioning why the EU would continue to treat the UK with what they perceive as hostility. 

Conservative MP Sir John Redwood warned that, should the animosity remain, the EU could face a downturn in trade with the UK, which, as the Eurostat data shows, would not serve the economic health of its member states. 

Speaking to pro-Brexit research website,, Sir John said: “The EU’s unfriendly behaviour to one of its biggest customers is leading many more UK consumers to look for alternatives to EU goods and food.

“The more difficult they make it to trade with them the more we will make and grow more for ourselves and the more we will develop our bigger trade with the rest of the world.

“Many other countries welcome our approach to free trade and fair commerce and see us as good friends.”

According to the Eurostat figures, exports from the EU to the UK leapt by 25.9 percent between January 2021 and January 2022, from €18.5billion (£15.6billion) to €23.3billion (£19.6billion).

Comparatively, the US spent €28.2billion (£23.7billion) on EU goods in January 2021, and €35.4billion (£29.8billion) in January 2022, a growth of 25.5 percent.

The figures for imports reveal further value of the UK-EU trade relationship. 

In January 2021, EU imports from the UK measured at €6.5billion (£5.4billion), and by January 2022, that figure had grown a staggering 112.3 percent to €13.8billion (£11.6billion).

EU imports from its main trading partners were up across the board, the figures show.

In terms of net worth, the largest chunk of imported goods comes from China, a trend which has been evident for many years, with €50billion (£42.1billion) worth of goods imported in January 2022.

But in terms of import growth, the UK was second only to Norway for the 2021/22 period, the country seeing a 160 percent increase in imports to the EU.

Despite the value of a strong trade relationship for both the EU and UK, relations have been strained since the Brexit vote. 

Now, however, with war raging in Ukraine – the biggest conflict on European soil since the Second World War – experts are calling for both sides to work to build bridges. 

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While some have criticised the EU’s actions, others have pointed out that the UK has a part to play in the situation, too. 

Dr Robin Niblett, director of the UK’s leading foreign policy think tank, Chatham House, criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his role in the animosity between the powers.

Writing in a report which looked at how the UK has implemented foreign policy since Brexit, Dr Nibblett said that “continuing to fuel a fractious relationship with this major neighbouring institution carries clear risks for the UK’s economy.”

And, speaking to the Telegraph, it appears that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss agrees. 

Speaking of her determination to “fix” the Northern Ireland protocol problem — a major sticking point between the UK and EU — Ms Truss said: “There is a difference between a negotiation between countries who respect the rule of law, respect basic principles like sovereignty, and dealing with a rogue state like Russia.”

She added: “I have frank conversations with all our partners, whether it’s the United States, whether it’s the EU, whether it’s Japan, whether it’s India – there are always going to be differences that we need to resolve.

“But those types of differences between friends and allies are different from the scale and the sheer belligerence and aggression and lying of Russia.

“The scale of the issue that we’re facing with Russia is so big, it’s so important, it’s so vital that we all stick together.” 

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