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EU warns UK chances of no-deal Brexit have risen

EU warns UK chances of no-deal Brexit have risen

EU warns UK chances of no-deal Brexit have risen
February 21
19:51 2019

The deputy head of the European Commission has warned that the risk for Britain leaving the bloc in a disorderly manner at the end of March has increased significantly despite efforts by London to secure a divorce deal signed in November.

European Commission First Vice President  Frans Timmermans said Thursday that Britain would certainly crash out of the EU unless political factions in the country could agree on an alternative mechanism.

“The risk of leaving without a deal has increased,” said Timmermans, adding that his fear in the last couple of weeks had increased that Britain “might crash out even if they don’t want to”.

The EU official said Brussels was willing to help Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal go through the British parliament. However, he said those pressing the EU to remove a clause in the deal dedicated to the future of the Irish border were deeply wrong to think that the bloc would compromise on the rights of its member Ireland.

British lawmakers rejected May’s deal on January 15, mainly out of concerns that Britain would become indefinitely trapped in EU rules after Brexit because of the so-called Irish backstop clause.

May has since then sought to persuade the EU into giving new concessions on the backstop, a policy which is meant to avoid a return if a hard border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Timmermans said it would be impossible for Britain to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland while pursuing different EU and UK economic rules, urging the pro-Brexit lawmakers who have been critical of the backstop to end their “pipe dream”.

May has repeatedly asked lawmakers in the House of Commons to unite behind her deal or face the prospect of a disorderly Brexit, a scenario which experts believe could have huge economic implications for the UK.  

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