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Montevideo, November 21st 2018 - 09:57 UTC

A no-deal Brexit poses an “existential threat” for the UK, says ex head of the European Council

Monday, August 27th 2018 - 08:36 UTC
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Mr Van Rompuy's comments come after the government published its first set of documents setting out no-deal advice for UK businesses and public bodies Mr Van Rompuy's comments come after the government published its first set of documents setting out no-deal advice for UK businesses and public bodies
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she will decide whether to back a second referendum on independence by the end of 2018 Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she will decide whether to back a second referendum on independence by the end of 2018

A no-deal Brexit could lead to the break-up of the UK, the ex-president of the European Council has warned. Herman Van Rompuy told The Observer leaving the EU without a deal posed an “existential threat” to the UK. He added a no-deal scenario would have a “big impact” on “regions such as Scotland”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she will decide whether to back a second referendum on independence by the end of 2018.

Mr Van Rompuy's comments come after the government published its first set of documents setting out no-deal advice for UK businesses and public bodies.

More documents are expected in the coming weeks - and Downing Street has scheduled a cabinet meeting to co-ordinate planning for the middle of September. Currently, mid-October is seen as the likely deadline for an agreement setting out the terms of UK-EU divorce.

Speaking last week, UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said reaching an agreement with the EU was still the most likely outcome - but preparing for other scenarios was the “responsible” thing to do.

Mr Van Rompuy said that discussion amounted to “nationalist rhetoric that belongs to another era”.

The former Belgian prime minister added that he believed no-deal comments from government ministers were part of “operation fear”, intended to scare the EU into compromising on a deal.

Former UK Brexit secretary, David Davis, has also accused the UK government of scaremongering over the implications of a no-deal Brexit in a tactic which he argues undermines the UK's negotiating position.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday newspaper, he said a warning from Chancellor Philip Hammond that such a scenario could hit GDP by up to 10% was “an attempt to frighten the population into imagining the most terrible consequences of leaving the EU without a deal”.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We have always said the United Kingdom would continue to thrive in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

”But we are confident of getting a good deal - one that delivers for every part of the United Kingdom and takes back control of our money, lawsand our borders. That is what this government will deliver.“

Scotland's Brexit secretary, Michael Russell, said Mr Van Rompuy's comments underlined the Scottish government's own warnings about the ”catastrophic“ implications for jobs, investment and living standards of a no-deal Brexit.

He said: ”The UK government should instead commit to staying inside the customs union and single market - the biggest such market in the world, which is around eight times the size of the UK market alone.

“It is extremely concerning - and irresponsible of the UK government - that the whole basis of our economic relationship with the European Union and critical issues such as customs arrangements have not been agreed, with the clock ticking towards an EU exit in March next year.

”It is also deeply concerning that the potential chaos of a no-deal Brexit is now seen clearly by just about everyone concerned - including the former president of the EU Council - except the UK government.” (BBC).

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • Islander1

    Typical vague Brussels Beaurocrat! Yes an No deal will not be good for UK(but not quite as bad as some claim either)- But neither will it be good for the EU- which exports MORE to the UK than the UK exports to EU.
    Also a No Deal - means NO £30 or whatever billion pounds going in - and that worries Germany and France who would have to foot the UK,s budget share instead.

    So my money is on a deal at the end- some form of free trade deal - and end to free immigration and instead UK pays a certain amount into the pot each year but a lot less than now. Irish border - that is for UK and Dublin to decide- bugger all to do with arses in
    Brussels at the end of the day- does not affect any of them.

    Recent example of Brussels brain dead= the Gallileo project- They say UK has to get out of it- so UK says Ok we will remove our £1 billion already invested from what we had agreed to pay Brussels. OH -m and by the way for worldwide coverage it is designed with receiver bases in Ascension-Falklands and DiegoGarcia - Oops beaurocrats - these are British and will no longer be European territories- so no receiver bases!

    Another suggests airlines might no be able to fly from UK to EU etc - Oops - what country does a lot of longhaul routes to USA and Canada from Europe fly over??

    Brexit does indeed seem to be handled by bunches of idiots on both sides. And madam up in Scotland is not very popular at the moment and whilst majority in Scotland want to stay in EU - they do not want to separate from UK- all the polls show it and she knows it so its all wind and bluster.

    Aug 27th, 2018 - 07:59 pm 0
  • DemonTree

    @Islander1
    While I agree with some of that, especially “Brexit does indeed seem to be handled by bunches of idiots on both sides,” you can't say the UK-Irish border has nothing to do with the EU. Ireland will still be in the customs union after Brexit, and if any member decided to open their external border and allow rampant smuggling, the whole EU would be affected and would have good reason to complain.

    Aug 28th, 2018 - 12:43 pm 0
  • Think

    Alba gu brath...

    Aug 27th, 2018 - 03:12 pm -1
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