The clock ticks down to April 12, when Britain will crash out of the EU without a negotiated exit deal unless one of three things happens: Parliament approves a deal; decides to abandon BREXIT altogether; or manages to get the EU member states to give it more time. A no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier also said a long extension to the UK’s 12 April exit date had “significant risks for the EU” and a “strong justification would be needed”.
Barnier urged British legislators and the government to take a more realistic approach as soon as possible. The EU is however prepared for a chaotic exit. Barnier insisted the EU would not renegotiate the 585-page withdrawal agreement but said he was willing to open up the political declaration that came with the legal text. The alternative plan that got the most support in the U.K. Parliament on Monday was a proposal for a customs union, which failed by just three votes. The final decision will be needed soon.