High probability of hard Brexit says Moedas

 In Brexit, News

The former Portuguese European Commissioner Carlos Moedas has warned that there is a high possibility that the UK will leave the EU at the end of the year without an agreement.

Moedas argues that the “Brussels machine knows what to do on the day after” as well as what will be affected.
“Everything is prepared, but despite being prepared the jolt will be so strong because none of this makes sense,” he told Jornal Económico reacting to the UK government’s decision to draft a white paper which will break parts of the agreement already reached, particularly those pertaining to Northern Ireland and the backstop.
“What is being discussed [in the British parliament], and which goes against the agreement that was made, does not give much to the European Union,” said the former Portuguese commissioner who was involved in the negotiations in Brussels since 2014, when he joined the Juncker Commission.
Despite the latest decision by Boris Johnson which seems to be “a step backwards” towards finding a European agreement, Carlos Moedas argues that the “Brussels machine knows what to do in the day after, ” as well as what will be affected. “Everything is prepared, but despite being prepared, the jolt is strong one because none of this makes sense,” the former European commissioner reacted.
“The British Government led by Boris Johnson is working on several fronts to face off a wave of challenges over the way the UK is dealing with the Brexit negotiations — and which have already prompted a warning from the European Union, but is also causing fractures within the Conservative party,” he added.
If Boris Johnson’s new proposal is approved, the “European Union will have to impose tariffs and quotas, and we will return to an old regime, undermining the solution reached by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, a Brexit negotiator and former EU commissioner who stated the aim was “not to have tariffs and not to have quotas”.
Nevertheless, Carlos Moedas is still confident of an agreement which will be favourable to both parties. “I think Europe is going to skip deadlines, but if the UK passes the law, the deal will be complicated,” he said.
Francisco Calheiros, president of the Portuguese Tourism Confederation, pointed out “Not having any agreement is like having no open sky,” since Portugal depends on British tourism to survive, especially Algarve tourism.
If the air borders with the United Kingdom are closed, the “English will stop coming to Portugal,” he said.
“I remember Barnier saying that these agreements will be a problem, because the United Kingdom would have to make agreements with each country, because the current agreement was made by the European Union as a whole.”
In other words, if the agreement fails, the United Kingdom no longer has open air borders with Europe and will have to make different agreements with all European countries.
“We have to be calm and think how, bilaterally, each country can start preparing for negotiations with the United Kingdom, and I think Portugal can start doing so without going beyond the European Union,” said the former European Commissioner , adding that tourism, science and commerce are three important pillars of trade between Portugal and the United Kingdom,” concludes Moedas.