Whilst the anti-Brexit Project Fear squeals grow louder in the British media, much of the impact of a No Deal across Europe has been largely ignored. After a No Deal the UK would be able to act unilaterally in its own interests. Even some of those in Brussels concede that an EU response to such a scenario could be more troublesome, requiring agreements subject to veto and the small matter of European Elections in May.
As Westmonster’s Michael Heaver has previously laid out, German industry and French agriculture are disturbed by the prospect of the UK leaving without a deal and Dutch hospitals have even warned that “we foresee great risks for our daily operations if Britain leaves the EU without a deal”. If the UK leaves on 29th March without a deal, there will be fury across Europe directed at those in Brussels.
‘@Michael_Heaver: EU failure to secure a UK deal will lead to European fury.
German industry and French agriculture badly want Brussels to do a deal! https://t.co/9VN8G5HKDE
— Westmonster (@WestmonsterUK) January 27, 2019
There are now further signs of the negative impact a No Deal would have in Europe.
On the 17th January the CEO of the Irish Exporters Association, Simon McKeever, said: “We now find ourselves with a 70-day window where I don’t think we are prepared as a country.
“We are, to put it bluntly, screwed.”
In the Netherlands, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce found that in December the majority (58%) of Dutch companies who trade with the UK have not made a plan or put in place measures for a No Deal Brexit.
The Belgium Finance Minister Alexander De Croo meanwhile has revealed that 80% of companies aren’t prepared for a No Deal outcome. The UK is Belgium’s fourth-largest trading partner.
This all leads to Bloomberg columnist, Leonid Bershidsky, to conclude: “It’s likely that increasingly anguished cries from business executives will reach the political leaders’ ears. Entrepreneurs who didn’t take precautions because a hard Brexit seemed too insane to contemplate will finally get worried, too late to avoid losses and chaos.
“That prospect strengthens May’s otherwise weak hand and bolsters hope for a last-minute compromise.”
The UK still has significant leverage in these negotiations. The British government must continue to plan for No Deal and be prepared to walk away.