Senior MEPs warn of No Deal Brexit reality but continue to hope for breakthrough

German EPP member David McAllister, who chairs Parliament’s UK Coordination Group, said that “nobody should underestimate the practical, economic and social consequences of a No Deal scenario.”
No Deal Brexit

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

21 Sep 2020

Speaking to The Parliament Magazine on Monday, McAllister said, “As the EU, we are determined to reach an agreement until the end of the transition phase.”

However, he added, “The European Parliament’s consent to any deal will only be granted after detailed scrutiny of the legal provisions and with the condition that the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland are fully implemented.”

French Renew Europe member Nathalie Loiseau, a fellow member of the Coordination group, also told this website, “The EU will not break talks. Our position remains that we are ready for a strong partnership and a deal.  Therefore, if talks collapse it will be Boris Johnson’s choice to go towards a No Deal.”

She added, “It was already his choice to refuse an extension.”

Further comment came from EPP member Danuta Hubner who, speaking to this site, said “the choice between the two options, a No Deal versus an extension of the transition period, belongs to our British friends.”

She added, “Since the beginning of the negotiations in June 2017, the No Deal option has belonged to the British narrative. It has never been an option for the EU side even if we have been fully aware that it can happen.”

“The consequences of No Deal for jobs and all aspects of citizens’ lives, in particular for all those living on the island of Ireland, do not require further elaboration.”

“The EU will not break talks. Our position remains that we are ready for a strong partnership and a deal.  Therefore, if talks collapse it will be Boris Johnson’s choice to go towards a No Deal” Natalie Loiseau MEP

“The current confrontation generated by the Internal Market Bill is unprecedentedly serious in the history of our negotiations. We have been through the rejection of the Irish backstop by the British side. We have been through the rejection by the British parliament of Theresa May’s approach to the Irish border. We have accepted the current Prime Minister’s approach to the Irish Protocol and now we face the rejection by the PM of his own proposal.”

“The path to this latest rejection is through an unprecedented political tool: the breach of the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement and, with it, dramatic consequences for the Good Friday Agreement.”

The Polish deputy said, “All this is happening one week before the last feasible negotiation round.”

“This breach, giving to British ministers all the power to dis-apply and change the protocol takes away from the Withdrawal Agreement its very essence, which is the provision of legal certainty to all those affected by Brexit. This certainty is crucial for those citizens who live on the island of Ireland.”

The EU has demanded that the UK government removes sections of its Internal Market Bill, which would give the UK the power to override agreements on the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and Britain and subsidies for Northern Irish companies.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has admitted the powers, if they were ever used, would break the UK's treaty obligations under international law in a “specific and limited” way.

“Since the beginning of the negotiations in June 2017, the No Deal option has belonged to the British narrative. It has never been an option for the EU side even if we have been fully aware that it can happen” Danuta Hubner MEP

The new legislation has cast fresh doubt on the current trade talks taking place between the two sides. The EU has set an October deadline for concluding the talks so as to give the European Parliament a chance to debate and vote on any deal. The UK is due to finally leave the EU on 31 December.

Next week’s trade talks in Brussels are considered crucial if the October deadline is to be met.

A Commission spokesman, speaking on Monday at a press briefing, said, “We remain in contact with the UK to prepare for the latest round of talks.” He declined to comment further.

In her State of the European Union address to MEPs last week, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she still hopes a deal can be reached with the UK but that Britain must “restore the trust in the validity of a signature under a treaty.”

She said, “We want an agreement, and I think the attempt to violate the Withdrawal Agreement distracted very strongly from the ongoing negotiations,” adding, “this was an unpleasant surprise.”

Jayne Adye, director of Get Britain Out, told this website, “Ursula von der Leyen is correct when she says we need a new beginning with old friends. This is a beginning which should finally free the UK from the grip of the EU.”

“At present the Withdrawal Agreement and the EU’s negotiation position over a trade deal make such a beginning impossible. The Bill is simply ensuring the EU does not have the power to break up the UK - something which no sovereign country would accept.”

She added, “Mrs von der Leyen consistently talks of the EU’s sadness at seeing the UK leaving but the EU has consistently shown contempt to UK negotiators and have rejected common sense solutions to the current impasse.”

“These are not negotiations taking place in good faith. While trust is important in any relationship between countries, the right of a country to control its own affairs is far more important. No trade deal is worth giving up the sovereignty the UK has fought so hard to regain.”

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