EU chief gloats UK faces financial decline over Brexit… before admitting he was GUESSING

Jean Claude Juncker’s financial figurehead Pierre Moscivici was quick to pour scorn on the UK as he outlined the predicted growth of EU nations.

He said the UK will face financial struggles this year before registering moderate growth in 2019.

But speaking in his native French after opening the statement in English, the European Union’s Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs went on to admit his predictions for the UK were complete guesswork.

He said: “In the UK we are expecting a new slowdown in growth in 2017 of 1.5 per cent.

“Why? That’s because increase in prices should effect household purchasing power so growth in private consumption should be modest and uncertainty will continue to weigh on business investment decisions.

“Now given the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU our forecast for 2019 – I want to say this clearly here, not to feed any rumours – our forecast are based on a purely technical hypothesis of the status quo in trade relations between the UK and the EU 27. 

“So let me say again this is a totally technical hypothesis and doesn’t prejudge in any way the outcome of the article 50 negotiations which are ongoing, this is just a way of anchoring forecasts for 2019 and making sure that these forecasts are consistent.

“So on the basis of this purely technical hypothesis growth in the UK should remain moderate over the forecasting period, GDP will increase by 1.3 per cent in 2018 and 1.1 per cent in 2019 – but those are just technical forecasts. 

“I think I’ve highlighted that enough now, but obviously we have to produce a forecast for the whole of the EU.” 

It comes after scores of financial reports were branded as “project fear” after attempting to guess the impact of Brexit on the UK economy, with many claiming before the nation’s decision to leave would spark immediate financial decline.

Earlier this month Mr Moscivici met with former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Labour peer Andrew Adonis and Tory backbencher Ken Clarke as the ardent remainers look for ways to undo the nation’s decision to leave.

Asked whether he was in Brussels to overturn the referendum result, Mr Clegg laughed and cheerily replied: “If only it were that easy. 

“We’re here just to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the talks.” 

But the meeting still infuriated top eurosceptics – coming after Mr Barnier met Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer – who questioned why Mr Barnier has only met with Remainers so far.