Top EU of­fi­cials warned to pre­pare for no-deal Brexit

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Brus­sels, Bel­gium - Top EU of­fi­cials were warned on Wed­nes­day to make plans to cope with the fall­out from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as their chief ne­go­tia­tor said talks with Bri­tain must make more progress be­fore next week’s crunch sum­mit.

EU Brexit point­man Michel Barnier and Martin Sel­mayr, the pow­er­ful head of the EU Com­mis­sion’s bu­reau­cracy, briefed com­mis­sion­ers on progress just a week be­fore the Oc­to­ber 18 meet­ing that has been dubbed a ‘mo­ment of truth’.

Ac­cord­ing to spokesman Mar­gari­tis Schi­nas, Barnier ‘re­called that de­ci­sive progress must be made in time for the Oc­to­ber Eu­ro­pean Coun­cil next week and ne­go­ti­a­tions at tech­ni­cal level will con­tinue this week’.

Sel­mayr mean­while ‘pro­vided a brief up­date on the state of play of the Com­mis­sion pre­pared­ness work and re­called the im­por­tance for all stake­hold­ers to pre- pare for all out­comes and at all lev­els. Sel­mayr, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion, has been tasked with co­or­di­nat­ing pre­pared­ness to pro­tect the EU from eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal dam­age if Bri­tain leaves the bloc on March 29 next year with­out a di­vorce deal in place.

Barnier is at­tempt­ing to ne­go­ti­ate such a deal, but time is run­ning out and EU lead­ers have made it clear that they ex­pect Bri­tain’s Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to come up with a way to un­block talks be­fore next week.

Dim­itris Avramopou­los, the EU com­mis­sioner for mi­gra­tion and home af­fairs, said Barnier had briefed the body on the state of play in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“Michel Barnier and his team are work­ing day and night to reach a deal, but we are not there yet,” he said.

He re­ferred fur­ther ques­tions to Barnier, who was due to make a speech to Eu­ro­pean busi­ness lead­ers later.

(AFP)

EU’s chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier

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