Westminster voting down the proposed by the Theresa May government agreement with EU27 caused the range of reactions from the blocs’s institutions, and major players, warning about the catastrophic consequences of the no-deal Brexit for communities from both sides of the Channel.
“The deal on the table respects the UK’s red lines and protects our citizens and companies from the surreal possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The Government should swiftly provide clarity on the next steps. The time for one-liners has run out, we need concrete choices”, Manfred Weber MEP (Germany, EPP) said. Although he admitted that the UK departing without an agreement is becoming one of realistic scenarios.
The EU top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said EU is ‘fearing more than ever’ a chaotic departure of UK from bloc.
“It is not up to me, as a humble Belgian, to lecture Brits on what to do, but I think it’s time the national interest overtakes narrow party politics & cross party politics redefines the red lines imposed by hardliners in the Conservative party. We are ready for this” said Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium, ALDE).
If there is no way forward because the Westminster rejected the negotiated Brexit deal with the EU MEPs offer to reverse the process, they have also underlined that they are prepared to give the additional time to Britons to consider the II referendum to break the political deadlock, consulting people.
It is exactly the scenario Nigel Farage UKIP MEP presumes the EU27 had in mind when imposing Irish border “backstop”, and the other conditions, impossible to accept by the UK lawmakers. The hard Brexit, and leaving the bloc under the WTO rules is the only way forwards, the MEP said. The major objection to the current deal is it indefinite timetable, removing intensives for negotiating the future trade agreement between the EU27 and the UK.
Gerard BATTEN MEP (UKIP) shared his views on Brexit vote in Westminster, and commented on proposals of political groups of the European Parliament to extend deadline if needed. Batten also warned against Brexit EU trap, which will make Britons an eternal vassal of Brussels.
Ahead of the vote Batten said that the best way to Brexit is just to go without any deal, and then gradually restore the sovereignty of the UK, adjusting laws to citizens needs. MEP does not believe Prime Minister Theresa May intentions to leave the EU, and deliver Brexit, he presumes that May as a Remainer will do everything in her power to tight Britons to EU forever.
The readiness to extend the deadline for Brexit has been expressed by Esteban GONZALES PONS (Spain), representing the EPP, the biggest Europarliament group, however he added that Westminster has to make up their mind before the European elections in May this year.
The leader of Greens Philippe LAMBERTS (Belgium) has a vision of the II referendum as the best solution for a current political deadlock in Westminster, highly likely to be voted down the Article 50 deal with the EU27, negotiated by Theresa MAY government.
Leaving the European Union without a deal, or so called ‘hard’ Brexit would be catastrophic, Spain Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said, while confirming that there were contingency plans in place.
Britain’s exit from the bloc on March 29 is uncertain as Westminster is highly likely to vote against a proposed by Theresa May cabinet deal, opening up a way to a disorderly retreat to.
“A hard Brexit would be a catastrophe for everyone,” Borrell, Socialist politician and former President of the European Parliament said during a conference in Madrid.
Britain began simulations for the upheaval of a no-deal Brexit by lining up 87 trucks at a little-used airport for a trip towards the United Kingdom’s most important trading gateway to continental Europe. (Image: illustration).
The group of 89 HGVs set off at 08:00 GMT from the disused Manston Airport, near Ramsgate in Kent, on a 20-mile route to the Port of Dover, the UK media reports.
At Dover, lorries were directed to the Eastern Docks roundabout where they did a loop and drove back to the airfield.
Prime minister May said that Britain would be in uncharted waters if the negotiated with the EU27 Brexit deal is rejected by the Westminster, in a vote, postponed to mid-January.
Facing defeat in parliament last month, May cancelled the vote on the agreed with the EU deal and pledged to seek further political and legal assurances from Brussels. The EU did nothing to calm the tensions, on contrary the European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker described May’s requests as “nebulous“, causing further deterioration of political climate.
Juncker also stated that the renegotiation of the deal is not possible. Many experts assess the EU27 hash position toward the UK as a deliberate ideological choice to “punish” Britons, creating a negative example for those, who might be interested to follow London on the way to exit the bloc.
In hope to promote her Article 50 deal among UK lawmakers in Westminster British Prime Minister Theresa May requested clarifications from Brussels, however instead of the shoulder, she received an elbow from EU top executive Jean-Claude Juncker, who criticized Britons as being ‘nebulous‘ .
At press-conference in Brussels May said she has been “crystal clear” with the European commission president and other EU leaders during the Summit meeting over Brexit about the assurances she needed over Irish border ‘backstop’.
The description of the UK position Theresa May presented as ‘nebulous‘ caused diplomatic raw in Brussels, and beyond, questioning Juncker’s intentions to defend the the Article 50 deal in these challenging times, when there is a considerable opposition among MP to endorsing it. The vote has been postponed, and a new date will be announced shortly, highly likely in the beginning of new year, but the latest on January 21.
European Union “stands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided” to the UK over the Irish border in Article 50 Agreement between the EU27 and the Britain.
The EU institutions are preparing a draft of a document the for British Prime Minister Theresa May to facilitate the divided Westminster to approve their Brexit deal, underlining said any such clarifications would not “change or contradict” the Agreement.
The 27 EU member-states have not reached consent on large parts of the draft text and the European diplomats presume the draft will be a subject of changes. The part of the text on the EU’s readiness to provide more assurances to the UK is under scrutiny of the Irish.
There is an opinion among the European diplomats that Theresa May is seeking to terminate the Irish backstop after three years of transitional period, while Irish are insisting on an agreement without an expiration date, but with a possibility to be replaced by another negotiated deal in the future, however the will be no situation of a political vacuum in this case.
Image above: illustration, Michel Barnier in Europa building.