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EU's Barnier: no-deal Brexit more likely by the day, three options left

WorldApr 02, 2019 02:55AM ET
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© Reuters. EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Barnier delivers a speech in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain has become more likely in the recent days to crash out of the European Union without a divorce agreement, the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday.

"Over the last days a no-deal scenario has become more likely, but we can still hope to avoid it," Barnier said, adding the EU was ready to accept Britain staying the EU's customs union or a relationship akin to the one the EU has with Norway.

Speaking at an event in Brussels after the British parliament rejected alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal, Barnier said Britain now had three choices before the April 12 leaving date.

"The UK should now indicate the way forward or indicate a plan," Barnier said. "More today than ever."

He said Britain could still accept the stalled deal negotiated by May, reiterating it was "the only way" for Britain to leave the bloc in an orderly way. Other options were the most damaging no-deal Brexit, or a long delay of the UK's leaving date, Barnier said, adding the factious UK parliament would hold the responsibility for these.

Barnier said a long postponement of Brexit would entail organizing European Parliament elections in the United Kingdom in May and London naming its representatives for the new European Commission.

The Frenchman said there was no added value to Brexit and stressed the 27 EU states staying on together were now ready for an abrupt split.

"Being prepared for no-deal doesn't mean that everything will be smooth. There will be disruptions, there will be problems. Being prepared means all unforeseen disruptions could be managed by the EU," Barnier said.

EU leaders including May meet in Brussels on April 10 to decide on next steps.

EU's Barnier: no-deal Brexit more likely by the day, three options left
 

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Comments (1)
Michele Michel
Michele Michel Apr 02, 2019 10:31AM ET
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If the UK wants a satisfactory Withdrawal Agreement from the EU, it must stop allowing the EU/Barnier to dictate the terms of the negotiation. The UK should call the EU's bluff and tell the European Council that it is prepared to exit without an agreement if the EU does not agree to open up the Withdrawal Agreement and amend the Irish backstop. Since day one the EU has been playing "hard ball" with the UK over Brexit. We all know very well that the EU has refused to amend any part of the Withdrawal Agreement, and this is an unreasonable position for the EU to take and it appears to have gone unchallenged. The EC stipulated in its own guidelines for Brexit negotiations as their "principle" that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". EVERYTHING IS NOT AGREED, AND YET THE EU REFUSES TO NEGOTIATE.
 
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