Michel Barnier: Brexit without a Deal Is still Possible
"Britain's exit from EU structures without a deal has not yet been removed as an opportunity and is a real danger." Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in Brexit talks, The Independent and Focus reported.
As the UK prepares for early elections on December 12, Barnier said future trade talks could be "difficult and “demanding”.
“The risk of Brexit happening without a ratified deal still exists. We still need to prepare,” Barnier said in a speech in Brussels
He warned that there was a "big difference" in Brexit readiness without a deal among EU members and between small and large companies in those countries that he believed could be vulnerable, NOVA reported.
Barnier said that Brexit without a deal can also happen at the end of January 2020. This could happen if the new government fail to ratify the agreement between current Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brussels after the UK elections, and another delay is not reached.
He also stressed that Brexit without a deal could also happen at the end of 2020 if the UK does not agree to extend the transition period and no trade agreement is reached by then.
Most trade observers believe that such an agreement cannot be reached in such a short period of time. “It will be a difficult and demanding set of negotiations,” he said.
“The time we have at hand to conclude this negotiation will be extremely short, 11 months.
“Because of our geographic closeness and our economic independence... we want to have solid guarantees on the level-playing field aspects.”, the diplomat added.
He warned that the EU can be very demanding on social rights, environmental protection, state aid and tax issues, which are topics Johnson is willing to negotiate even less than his predecessor, Theresa May.
“Brexit is not a destination. It’s not an end in itself, at least not for us. It’s a staging post, it’s difficult juncture. But after Brexit... we will need to reestablish all sorts of things.” Barnier concluded.