Everything that is possible is being done by the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker but the responsibility of a no-deal Brexit would rest on the United Kingdom, said Juncker .
The EU realizes that there will be catastrophic consequences for the UK and Europe is the UK ultimately left the EU without a deal that would ensure an organized withdrawal process and therefore Juncker and Barnier were working intensively for a deal, Juncker said in an interview with a German newspaper recently.
“Our chief negotiator Michel Barnier and I are doing everything possible to get an agreement,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. “But if we don’t succeed in the end, the responsibility would lie exclusively on the British side.”
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on October 31.
There has been little progress made by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to formulate a new deal that could replace the one that had been presented and agreed by the former UK Prime Minister Theresa May – a deal that had been rejected thrice by the UK parliament, Officials in Brussels say.
An agreement with the EU was not close, Johnson also acknowledged on Thursday.
A disorderly exit of the UK from the EU will significantly complicate things when there are negotiations over a future trade agreement between the UK and the EU, Juncker added.
“We will want to and need to seal a free trade agreement,” he said. “But that won’t happen just like that, as some in Britain imagine. Some of the trade deals we sealed in my term of office took many years to reach.”
Separately, a report that was published earlier in the week by Britain’s National Audit Office in London warned of a need for a “significant amount” of work still remaining to make sure that there is an adequate supply of medicines if the UK is forced to leave the EU without any deal.
It would probably not be before the end of November that operations would start for additional shipping capacity that has been chartered by the UK for sending goods across the English Channel, said the UK audit office. This would be a huge problem because it would be one month after the October 31 deadline for UK’s exit from the EU.
About 7000 of the more than 12,300 medicines that have been licensed in the UK come to the country form the EU or are routed through Europe – mostly through the English Channel.
The flow of goods into the UK could be cut by more than 50 per cent on Day One of a no-deal Brexit and it could take more than a year for the country to make up the deficit, according to the British government’s “reasonable worst-case” scenario. There is “extremely limited” time at hand for the resolution of the shipping issues by the end of October when the Brexit is to set in, the “reasonable worst-case” scenario also noted.
The proposal for a further delay in Brexit in the eventuality of a deal not being reached between the UK and the EU before the deadline has so far been ignored by Johnson.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)