No-deal Brexit WON’T happen as professor warns: ‘Too much at stake’
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No-deal Brexit remains a very real possibility as the deadline for reaching an agreement draws closer. The UK and EU trade talks have stalled once again and have now been suspended for a “short period” after a member of the EU’s Brexit negotiation team tested positive for coronavirus. A no-deal Brexit is the default legal position if both sides cannot come to a deal about their future relationship.
What is no-deal Brexit?
Britain formally left the EU on January 31, 2020, from which time an 11-month transition period began.
But if a deal is not ratified by the end of this timescale, a no-deal Brexit would happen.
This would mean the UK would also automatically revert to World Trade Organisation trade rules.
Speculation about a delay to proceedings has arisen after the EU”s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier announced talks would be paused.
On November 19, Mr Barnier tweeted: “One of the negotiators in my team has tested positive for Covid-19.
“With [Lord Frost] we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period.
“The teams will continue their work in full respect of guidelines.”
There are just a few weeks left until the UK leaves the EU in full, severing all ties with the Brussels bloc.
It is highly unlikely a delay will be granted and therefore no-deal is very possible.
French leader Emmanuel Macros has insisted a UK/EU trade deal must be translated into French before he will support it, even if this means risking a no-deal Brexit.
His insistence means time is officially running out for both sides to agree a deal, pass the Bill through UK and EU Parliament to ensure it can be ratified in time before the end of the year.
For several weeks, both the UK and EU have claimed a deal is within grasp.
However, each side has been unable to reach an agreement on a few highly contentious issues: fisheries, the level-playing field and governance.
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If the UK and EU cannot reach an agreement on these topics, there is a serious risk of a no-deal exit.
But Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University said a no-deal Brexit is far from inevitable.
In fact, he believes the UK and the EU will want to return to talks as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome for both sides after the UK’s official departure.
He said: “There is a substantial chance of a no-deal Brexit, although I suspect that the two sides would return to the negotiating table after a while – too much is at stake for everybody.”
However, Britain’s negotiating team currently remain firm. They will not budge on their insistence that the UK must be able to set it’s own environmental, labour and social standards.
While David Frost and his negotiators also refuse to back down on the issue of fishing.
A UK official said: “Although there has been some progress in recent days, there is much work to be done and time is now very short. We now need to see more realism from the EU on what it means for the UK to be an independent state.”
And time is running out. EU officials dismissed suggestions the European Parliament could give its consent after December 31, with one source saying: “It is not being considered.”
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