Britons are far more optimistic about how much the EU needs us than the other way around.
And that lies at the heart of our misplaced optimism about the outcome after two years of negotiation.
A new survey finds that one third (33%) of Britons think the EU needs the UK more than we need them.
A further 28% of Brits think we need each other equally.
This means that six in ten Britons are quite bullish about the UK’s chances in Brexit negotiations, according to the survey by YouGov.
That is in stark contrast to how Europeans see our position.
37% of Germans think the UK needs the EU more than vice versa. Only 9% of Germans think the EU needs the UK more. The French are a bit more generous.
So who is more right?
The problem is that British optimism is based on a false narrative spun by Brexiteers and doesn’t take into account two big factors.
1) The EU market is over 450 million people, excluding Britain. In contrast the UK market is worth less than 65 million people.
UK exports to the EU are 13% of our economy. EU’s exports to the UK are just 3% of their economy. Which side do you think will be more eager to trade with the other?
2) Brexiteers also say UK imports far more from the EU than it exports, so they need us more.
But there is a problem with this too. A large bulk of our EU imports are car parts for the manufacturing sector. We have no choice to keep buying them if we want to export cars to the rest of the EU (our biggest market).
Even the German car-industry has said they care about protecting the EU more than exports to the UK.
Naive optimism about our relationship to the EU will back and bite us, hard