EU Prepares For Brexit Talks Collapse

EU leaders are now reported to be bracing themselves for the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit.

With the British governing party embroiled in turmoil and in-fighting, and a leadership election seen as highly likely in the near future, German officials say that they have been spending just as much energy on how to handle a hard-Brexit as they are on preparing for a negotiated solution. The BDI industry federation in Europe's largest economy warned German firms early this week that it would be “naive” not to prepare for a “a very hard Brexit”.

One senior EU official said: “There’s every reason to be worried and European industry should take this more seriously.”

Whilst senior EU negotiator Michel Barnier says that he is as keen as the UK team to oversee an orderly Brexit, he constantly emphasises the fact that his first priority is the interest of the EU with its 27 remaining member states.

Barnier is increasingly being seen as intransigent, and many UK observers are beginning to suspect that he himself is deliberately blocking negotiations by refusing to move beyond "priorities", such as the future nature of Anglo-Irish border, which the UK claims cannot be addressed until both parties have an understanding of what the future customs relationship between the UK and the EU will be.

UK Brexit minister, David Davis, is expected to be in Brussels on Monday for a fifth round of negotiations with Barnier. However, expectations of a breakthrough are said to be very low among EU officials.

Theresa May is due to meet the negotiating team the following week with the intention of open talks on a future free trade accord.

This, however, is unlikely to happen. 

Read also: Why Is Barnier So Obsessed With A Divorce Settlement?

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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