Portugal preparing for Hard Brexit
Portugal’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said today that Portugal and its companies must prepare for a chaotic and disorderly ‘Hard Brexit’.
The comments come after the British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered yet another crushing defeat in the House of Commons yesterday to her ‘tweaked’ deal with the EU which provided some slight concessions over the Northern Ireland Backstop proposal, but which was voted down by 149 votes.
Santos Silva said that Portugal’s main concern was to prepare for any Brexit scenario including the lack of an agreement which is “more possible’ following the second defeat in the British Parliament.
“Our number one concern is to continue to prepare, whether at the level of the rights of our citizens or the level of our support to companies and tourism for the scenario which today looks increasingly possible — a Brexit without an agreement” he told the news agency Lusa.
He added: “At the same time, we are and will continue to be available to offer our support for all initiatives that might be necessary from the European side for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in the most orderly and organised way possible”.
Santos Silva said that the “worst scenario was Britain’s exit from the EU without any agreement, so that anything that would avoid this scenario would be supported by Portugal, whether coordinated from Brussels or in each one of the national parliaments.
“We have created a Contingency Plan to avoid any kind of rupture on 29 March in terms of air transport and the free movement of people here and overseas,” he said.
When asked about the effect of possible snap elections over the impasse — a demand made by the leader of the opposition, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn -, Augusto Santos Silva said that the matter was the domain of “British internal politics.”