'Europe NO LONGER major power' Former Barclays boss reveals EU downturn

Europe has reportedly been losing influence for some time, explained global banker Gerald Grimstone. He told CNBC: “I travel around the world incessantly and I’m sad that people no longer refer to Europe as a major power. Ten years ago, five years ago, people saw Europe coming up there alongside the US, alongside China.

“Nowadays people talk about Germany, they talk about Italy, they talk about France.

“I’m afraid that it’s not been good for Europe.

“I don’t think it’s good for the world that Europe has lost some of its influence.

“I think that is affecting economic growth.

“I think the UK leaving Europe affects Europe as much as it affects the UK.

“So I think we’re moving into quite difficult times.

“I like to think of Europe as a patient who’s been taking a lot of medicine for a lot of years.

“Medication has been great - it has stabilised the patient.

"But at some point, we have to start weaning the patient off this medicine and get back to a better economic reality.”

Brussels' patience with Theresa May appears to be wearing thin ahead of Tuesday's Commons showdown on Brexit.

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks happening now were between British politicians, rather than between the UK and Brussels.

Downing Street acknowledged negotiations were "deadlocked" and that a phone call between the Prime Minister and Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday failed to produce any breakthrough.

Following a second call on Monday with Mr Juncker, Downing Street said: "Talks continue."

If progress had been made, Mrs May had been expected to fly to Brussels for face-to-face talks with the European Commission president, but the EU confirmed that no political meetings were scheduled between the two sides this week.

At Westminster, speculation has centred on the prospect of the Prime Minister watering down her commitment to hold a vote on her Brexit deal following the failure of talks to provide suitable concessions over the Northern Ireland backstop.

But Mrs May's official spokesman confirmed it remains the plan to stage the "meaningful vote" on the Brexit deal on Tuesday.

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