Rejecting Brexit deal would be “a tragedy” says Portugal’s PM

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Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa said on Sunday in Brussels that the British parliament’s rejection of the Brexit agreement approved over the weekend would be a “tragedy”.

When asked about the likelihood that Westminster would not pass the deal which has taken 21 months to negotiate, António Costa said, “This isn’t the place to speculate here. Several times throughout the negotiation process many thought it impossible to conclude it, but it has been concluded and it is a good agreement,” he said.

The prime minister who leads the governing PS socialist party in Portugal stressed that there “are no alternatives”. 

“This is the agreement. The alternatives were all negotiated and tested by the end of these months. At the end of 21 months we have arrived here. The only reference that exists between us all is that we are all satisfied with the agreement, both the European Union and the British Prime Minister. It was a great team effort from the negotiating teams.”

Portugal’s leader of the opposition centre-right PSD party, Rui Rio when asked what he thought about the House of Commons refusing to accept the deal, replied, “That’s their problem.”

Rio said on Sunday that the agreement made by the European Council didn’t “help the development of Europe and strengthening of European unity at all.”

“Europe, as we all know, has a series of problems, whether in the North-South dialogue or East-West dialogue, for various reasons and Brexit, naturally, is not helping Europe’s development or strengthening its unity.” 

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said the agreement reached over Brexit was a “sad day” but still had “some hope.”

“It’s sad that we’ll see the United Kingdom, our oldest ally, leave the EU, but there is a candle of hope because if the 27 remaining member-states came to an agreement, it’s because they want to continue on the same path towards the same goals and because they want to continue (to have a relationship) with the United Kingdom as a different partner”, he said.  

And while António Costa thinks that the negotiation process was one of the most important displays of solidarity for the future of the European project in recent years, Carlos César, leader of the PS parliamentary benches argues that Brexit signals an “an amber light” to the European Union.