EC senior official Cristea: UK exiting EU without agreement, disorderly, with great potential for crisis

The head of the European Commission Representation in Romania, Angela Cristea, said on Monday that the chances of the UK withdrawing from the EU without an agreement increase by the day, which would make the exit disorderly and having a great potential for crisis in many sectors.

"The agreement negotiated and agreed upon with Prime Minister May was rejected in a first vote in the British Parliament, and now we are in a rather bizarre situation in which we know that our partners do not want to stay in the European Union, but they do not want to leave under this agreement or without an agreement either, and they will not have any time extension to the exit," Cristea told a debate hosted by Romania's Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE).

She explained the consequences of this situation, highlighting the state of uncertainty and the consequences of a Brexit without agreement.

"What is important is to find out what they want. It is quite obvious what they do not want and they do not seem to want any of the rational, logic options that we can also see. And although our position is very clear - that this is the best possible agreement and we cannot see why we would renegotiate it since we have already come to agree it is the best possible agreement - our chief negotiator (...) agreed to resume talks precisely to find out what our partners want, what their steps are moving forward. This state of uncertainty is exactly what we wanted to avoid. At the same time, every passing day increases the chances of an exit without an agreement, a disorderly pullout with a very high potential for crisis in many sectors," said Cristea.

She pointed out that the European Commission is prepared for both options - a UK retreat with an agreement and one without any agreement.

"For the orderly exit, we have published over 60 sectoral notices just so that all those who have relationships in a particular field know what this divorce actually means. If there is no agreement, we have published 14 immediate measures to avoid this major crisis where everything get stuck on March 30," added Cristea.

According to her, there is a very large difference between the two scenarios when viewed through the lenses of business.

"If, however, the withdrawal agreement passes, even from the business environment's point of view, even if the UK becomes a third country on March 30, 2019, it will actually leave the EU only on January 1, 2021, so there are still 21 months of transition. If not, on March 30, Britain is not only a de jure but also a de facto third country and then all the plans of the businesspeople probably do need to consider both outcomes," Cristea explained. AGERPRES (RO - author: Catalin Alexandru, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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