21-05-2022 10:18 PM Jerusalem Timing

Britain Says ’in Position of Economic Strength’ for Brexit Talks

Britain Says ’in Position of Economic Strength’ for Brexit Talks

Britain will enter EU exit talks in a strong position, finance minister Philip Hammond declared Wednesday, after data revealed economic growth unexpectedly accelerated in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

Britain will enter EU exit talks in a strong position, finance minister Philip Hammond declared Wednesday, after data revealed economic growth unexpectedly accelerated in the run-up to the Brexit referendum.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.6 percent in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a first estimate for April-June, which included the shock EU exit vote towards the end of the period.

That beat market expectations for 0.5-percent growth, as activity was boosted by rebounding industrial production, and followed 0.4-percent expansion in the first quarter.

"Today's GDP figures show that the fundamentals of the British economy are strong," said finance chief Hammond.

"In the second quarter of this year our economy grew by 0.6 percent -- faster than was expected.

"Indeed we saw the strongest quarterly rise in production for nearly twenty years, so it is clear we enter our negotiations to leave the EU from a position of economic strength."

Britons had voted on June 23 to leave the European Union in a surprise vote that sent markets tumbling and the pound slumping in its aftermath.

Also on Wednesday, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker appointed veteran French politician and former EU commissioner Michel Barnier to lead the exit negotiations with Britain.

Juncker said Barnier was a "skilled negotiator with rich experience in major policy areas relevant to the negotiations (and) ... has an extensive network of contacts."