Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Brexit

Risk of no-deal Brexit has increased, says European Commission

The political chaos in Westminster has increased the risk of a no-deal Brexit, the European Union has warned.
In a message to business and other organisations to step up preparations for a no-deal scenario on October 31, the European Commission said it remained a "possible, although undesirable, outcome".
Following Boris Johnson's Commons defeat and his call for an early election, the European Commission said that while there were "twists and turns in London" the Brussels position on Brexit remained stable.
A memo from the commission to EU institutions set out Brussels' assessment of the situation ahead of the October 31 deadline.
"The short time remaining and the political situation in the United Kingdom have increased the risk that the United Kingdom will withdraw on that date without an agreement," the document said.
Organisations "should not rely on the assumption that a third extension will be requested by the United Kingdom" and agreed by EU leaders ahead of October 31.
The commission also restated that the controversial Irish backstop was the "only solution identified" that safeguarded the Good Friday Agreement.
It said: "The commission and Ireland continue working together, in the context of the unique situation on the island of Ireland and their twin objectives of protecting the integrity of the internal market while avoiding a hard border, to identify arrangements both for contingency solutions for the immediate aftermath of a withdrawal without an agreement and for a more stable solution for the period thereafter."
"The backstop provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement is the only solution identified that safeguards the Good Friday Agreement, ensures compliance with international law obligations and preserves the integrity of the internal market."
Brussels' chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU commissioners "it's the UK's responsibility to come forward with concrete proposals that are operational and are also compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement".
Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters in Brussels: "There may be twists and turns in political developments in London right now but our position is stable."
"We are willing to work constructively with Prime Minister Johnson and to look at any concrete proposals he may have, as long as they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement."
She added there was no deadline for making a breakthrough ahead of the October 31 Brexit date as Brussels could be prepared to hold an emergency summit if required.
"We have precisely been through this over the past months and by that shown our willingness and determination to arrive at a Brexit with a deal on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement," she said.
"Therefore I will not speculate as to when would be the very latest moment to do that."