No ‘Blind Brexit’ Deal in the Making, German Sources Say amid Fears by Pro-EU Camp in UK
Reports that Germany and the European Commission, the EU executive, are inclined to offer UK Prime Minister Theresa May what is described as a “blind Brexit” deal to help her save face have been denied by German sources, according to a report.
The EU has insisted that it make a Brexit deal with the UK by October 2018, and with that deadline rapidly approaching, there have been reports recently of the possibility of a brief joint declaration, rather than a full-fledged Brexit agreement, just in order to avoid a no-deal scenario.
In that case, many of the major bones of contention between the EU and the UK will remain unresolved, and will be deferred for subsequent talks during the 1.5-year post-Brexit transition period.
The reports of such a “blind Brexit” deal backed by Germany, however, have now been rejected by German sources cited by The Guardian.
In spite of reports from Brussels and EU officials, the sources in question said that the German government had not issued to the European Commission any instruction to support a vague blueprint for Brexit agreement.
They also insisted that Berlin required clear guarantees about the future relationship between the EU and the UK on trade and security, rather than preferring a “blind Brexit” deal to avoid the no-deal scenario.
There have been assumptions that the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier would be prepared to offer a vague Brexit blueprint if it was supported by Germany and France since most EU member states would prefer it to the no-deal scenario.
Whereas a full-fledged Brexit agreement would tackle in detail the contentious issues about future UK payments to the EU, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and vice versa, a brief Brexit declaration would likely not settle those.
The possibility of a “blind Brexit” deal, as the vague declaration scenario has come to be referred to, has agitated anti-Brexit and pro-EU factors in the UK.
The People’s Vote campaign which calls for a second referendum on leaving the EU warned against a “blind Brexit” and urged the European Commission not to offer May that option.
“A blind Brexit would take the UK to the same place as a no-deal Brexit, but without the clarity. The idea that the fundamental contradictions of the government’s Brexit policy can be more easily resolved after the UK has left the EU is simply ludicrous,” said British MP Chris Leslie, a Remain campaigner.
“A blind Brexit is being talked about because some see it as a short-term face-saving deal for both the British government and the European Union, both of which are now terrified that concluding with a failure to agree a deal will result in a humiliating no-deal Brexit,” he added.
“With the EU27 governments and the EU commission wanting to spare Theresa May’s blushes, there is a risk we end up with a fake deal to save face,” Leslie insisted.
The Remain camp in the UK continues to hope that more high-profile EU figures would declare that Britain is free to remain in the European Union.
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