.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Is an accidental 'no deal' a real possibility?

As February eases its way into March and the deadline for us leaving the EU approaches, it is little wonder then many people are getting jumpy at the fact that we still have no viable deal on the table for Brexit.

As the Guardian reports, one such person is the EU's chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, who has gone on the record to say he is more concerned than ever about an accidental no-deal Brexit in five weeks following a week of talks with Theresa May and the British negotiators that has got nowhere:

As the British prime minister heads to Egypt for an EU-Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, the bloc’s chief negotiator publicly said he believed there remained “a chance” of ratifying the deal.

But he told a French radio channel: “Today I am more worried than before” over the talks, adding that the UK needed to make decisions fast.

The EU official also told ambassadors privately, after the negotiations with the UK’s Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, and a visit by May to Brussels, that the chances of an “accidental” no-deal Brexit were high.

Barnier said the UK’s attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, was looking for a legal assurance in addition to the withdrawal agreement that could allow him to advise MPs, as the government’s chief legal adviser, that the Irish backstop would be only temporary.

Cox wants to set out what conditions would need to be met for the backstop, if it were triggered, to be superseded by other arrangements, such as a technological fix. It is hoped this could be part of winning round MPs to May’s deal.

The British side now privately admit that a timelimit or unilateral exit mechanism on the backstop will not be accepted by the EU.

Barnier added that May had the option of threatening the Brexiters with an extension of article 50, and a delay to the 29 March Brexit day, to win them round to her deal, EU sources said.

The Commons is expected to vote on an amendment next week on whether to force May to request an extension by mid-March if a deal is not agreed by MPs.

But with the political situation in London volatile, the EU capitals have been warned by Barnier to be ready for the UK to crash out.

With all the political parties at Westminster in chaos, I fear that Barnier's prognosis may well be correct.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?