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Britain can’t leave EU customs union and trade freely: Dutch finance minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has told the BBC that it would be ‘impossible’ for Britain to leave the EU customs union and keep trading freely with Europe.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Dijsselbloem said Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson was putting forward options that ‘are intellectually impossible and politically unavailable’.

Johnson reportedly told a Czech paper Britain was likely to leave the EU customs union but still wanted to trade freely after.

'He’s saying things that are intellectually impossible, politically unavailable, so I think he’s not offering the British people a fair view of what is available and what can be achieved in these negotiations,’ Dijsselbloem, who is also president of the eurozone’s Eurogroup, said.

The minister told the programme both the British and the European economy would be worse off after Britain pulls out.

‘There is no win-win situation. It’s going to be a lose-lose situation and in the best case if we set aside all emotions and try to reach an agreement that is least damaging to both of us we can minimise the damages,’ he added.

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