60% Chance of No-Deal Brexit, Liam Fox Forecasts Blaming European Commission
The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox deems there is a 60% possibility of a Brexit without a deal, a prospect he blames on the “intransigence” of the European Commission, the EU executive.
The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, and the latter has insisted that a withdrawal agreement, more commonly known as a Brexit deal, be negotiated by October 2018 to allow the British and European Parliaments sufficient time to vote on it.
“I think the intransigence of the commission is pushing us towards no deal,” Fox told The Sunday Times (paywall) as cited by The Guardian.
“We have set out the basis in which a deal can happen but if the EU decides that the theological obsession of the unelected is to take priority over the economic wellbeing of the people of Europe then it’s a bureaucrats’ Brexit, not a people’s Brexit – then there is only going to be one outcome,” the UK’s International Trade Secretary added.
Even though both Britain and the EU insisted they want to reach an agreement on the former’s withdrawal from the Union, he declared the chances of a no-deal Brexit at “60-40”.
Fox, who is a prominent Brexiter especially singled out the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, as a factor contributing to the possibility of a hard Brexit.
In his words, Barnier had dismissed British Prime Minister May’s Brexit blueprint, the controversial Brexit White Paper of the British government, because “we have never done it before”.
“[Barnier’s response] makes the chance of no deal greater,” the British International Trade Secretary said.
He made it clear that Britain was warning the EU member states of the consequences of the failure to strike a Brexit agreement.
“It’s up to the EU27 to determine whether they want the EU commission’s ideological purity to be maintained at the expense of their real economies,” he added.
Fox’s comments come after British Prime Minister Theresa May met on Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, while British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab were also engaged in intensified diplomatic activities across Europe.
The EU institutions have met with harsh criticism the British attempts to influence the EU member state directly on Brexit as the negotiations with the UK are technically entirely the responsibility of the European Commission.
“I think it’s essential that ‘no deal’ looks credible to the EU. If it’s causing some anxiety in Britain, think what it’s causing in Brussels,” Fox insisted.
“[The UK’s] negotiating hand is getting stronger every day and we shouldn’t do anything to undermine that,” he argued with respect to Britain taking a hard line on a no-deal scenario.
Fox’s estimate of a 60% chance of a no-deal Brexit come after at the end of last week Bank of England Governor Mark Carney described the chances of a no-deal Brexit as “uncomfortably high”.
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