EU warns risk of disorderly Brexit ‘has never been higher’
Addis Ababa, March 13, 2019 (FBC) – The risk of a “disorderly” Brexit has never been higher, the EU’s chief negotiator has said, following MPs’ second rejection of Theresa May’s deal.
Michel Barnier said the EU “cannot go any further” in trying to persuade MPs to back the agreed terms of exit and the UK had to break the impasse.
He questioned what the purpose would be of extending the talks beyond 29 March.
MPs will vote at 19.00 GMT on whether to block the UK from leaving the EU without an agreement later this month.
Wednesday’s vote only applies to the 29 March deadline and would not rule out the prospect of a no-deal exit later this year, if Parliament is ultimately unable to agree a way forward.
Ahead of the no-deal Commons vote, the government announced that most imports into the UK would not attract a tariff in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
As the government considers its next move after Mrs May deal was defeated by 149 votes, Mr Barnier said it was time for the UK to take “responsibility” for its actions.
“Again the House of Commons says what it doesn’t want,” he told the European Parliament. “Now this impasse can only be solved in the UK.
“The risk of no-deal has never been higher. That is the risk of an exit….in a disorderly fashion.”
The EU, he suggested, had gone “as far as it possibly can” to satisfy MPs’ concerns over the agreement, particularly in relation to the backstop, an insurance policy to stop a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“If the UK still wants to leave the EU in an orderly manner, this treaty is, and will remain, the only treaty possible,” he said.