A hard Brexit could cause twice as many job losses in the European Union as in the UK, and Malta could be among those worst hit, economists based in Brussels have warned.
Up to 1.2m jobs could be lost in the European Union, with up to 526,000 being lost in the UK, researchers from the University of Leuven said.
In terms of absolute figures, countries like Germany would be most affected, but in relative terms, Malta would be among the countries which have most to lose, along with Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, the report said.
A soft Brexit would still lead to some job losses within the EU, but a considerably smaller rate of 284,000. The bloc's GDP would shrink by 0.38 to 1.54 per cent.
The report was published ahead of the fourth round of talks which began yesterday.
Chief negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier urged each other to press forward with talks. Mr Davis pledged to "work through the detail" of the three key areas - the Irish border, citizens’ rights and the divorce bill - in a bid to unlock the second phase of discussions, opening up to trade and transition.