Brexit – a perspective from Brussels

“In Brussels, EU ambassadors were sufficiently worried to convene an ‘emergency’ no deal meeting at the European Commission, with a rejection by British MPs of any Brexit deal being openly discussed for the first time. There is also a nagging fear that the European Parliament, always eager to muscle into the political arena in Brussels, could reject the deal.

“As with any negotiation, posturing plays a big part in trying to win the other side around to your position. However the economic shock from a genuine no deal would be a catastrophic for all sides, with global repercussions.

“The UK is producing a series of notices on the effect of no deal on the UK and the challenges that it will pose. On the EU side Ireland, France and Belgium would be the worst hit and if no aviation deal can be struck that contamination would be far more widespread. The UK government hinted this week that flights to the Continent would be affected. Cyprus, Malta, Spain & Portugal potentially face a summer holiday season without British tourists. For Malta, nearly 90 percent of their summer visitors come from the UK so such a scenario could be economically devastating.

“Yet no deal is certainly a possibility, given the challenging parliamentary arithmetic in the House of Commons and the splits on Brexit that run deeply within both major UK parties. So getting a withdrawal agreement that MPs will back looks to be a real challenge. Westminster passed an amendment in July that effectively renders the EU’s backstop plan for Northern Ireland illegal as it would create an internal border within the UK. Any deal would need to avoid impinging on this point, even though the EU is currently insisting on it.”

(I receive Brexit update newsletters from Mr.Daniel Dalton, a British Member of the European Parliament. The above is a short excerpt from the latest newsletter, which reflects the view from Brussels. Information only)

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