Elmar Brok, European People’s Party’s Brexit coordinator and Brexit-sherpa for the European Parliament, on the state of play of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Brok pointed out, that the proposed Withdrawal Agreement is the best possible option under the given circumstances. He warned the House of Commons from rejecting the deal, as this would unavoidably lead to a hard Brexit. The EU rejects any further negotiations. A hard Brexit would have negative consequences for both sides, the UK and the EU. “I’m referring to the latest study of the Bank of England which states, that a hard Brexit would trigger a deep and damaging recession with worse consequences for the UK economy than the 2008 financial crisis. This scenario needs to be avoided”, Brok said. It needs to be understood by everyone, that there will be no transition period without a ratified exit agreement. No one can really prepare for a “cliff edge scenario” – neither politically nor economically. Also, the question of the Irish border would not be solved and would lead to a hard border. The proposed Withdrawal Agreement includes an emergency plan, a backstop option, to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But this has caused very harsh reactions by the Brexiteers. “The discussion about the Backstop needs to be dedramatised. It is an emergency plan, with the intention of never being applied!”, Brok said. Without a deal, the rights of all British citizens living in the EU 27 and vis versa, EU citizens living in the UK, would become uncertain. “Brexit will hurt all of us, but we need to keep the damage as low as possible. This will only work, if we ensure close cooperation and relations with the UK in the future. This is in both of our interest!”