Eurocrat: Only Brexit Options Are EU Treaty, No Deal, or Cancel Brexit

Chief EU negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier addresses a press conference at the end of a general affairs council on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom at the Euroepan Commission in Brussels on March 19, 2019. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has ruled out the possibility of a future British prime minister renegotiating the EU-approved withdrawal treaty, saying that the only options are the deal, leaving without a deal, or cancelling Brexit altogether.

In an interview with the New York Review of Books published Wednesday, Mr Barnier said that while it was difficult to predict what would happen next in the Brexit process, he confirmed: “There are three options: a deal based on the agreement finalized six months ago; withdrawal without a deal; or no Brexit.”

The former French foreign minister added that there would be no renegotiation of the deal, saying: “If the UK wants to leave in an orderly manner, this treaty is the only option. If the choice is to leave without a deal — fine.

“If the choice is to stay in the EU — also fine. But if the choice is still to leave the EU in an orderly manner, this treaty is the only option. This is all that our legal constraints allow.”

His stance echoes that of President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who said on Tuesday night before an EU summit in Brussels: “I was crystal clear. There will be no renegotiation.”

The notion of renegotiating the soft-Brexit, EU-approved exit treaty has been revived after Theresa May announced that she would be stepping down as prime minister on June 7th, with potential successors lining up to pledge to get a better deal with the EU, rejecting a no-deal Brexit as a viable option.

After the Tory Party failed to deliver Brexit by March 29th, citizens made their thoughts clear at local and European elections, where the Conservatives were decimated, with the Nigel Farage-led Brexit Party taking the lead in the European Parliament polls and the Tories languishing in fifth place.

However, rather than taking the cue from the voters, and the clear position stated by Eurocrats, Tory candidates are still maintaining that a new deal with the bloc can be made before the October 31st exit date.

Positions by party leader candidates on renegotiating the Brexit treaty over leaving the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms range from those open to leaving on October 31st regardless and those who would, like their predecessor Mrs May, delay Brexit effectively ad infinitum until the unpopular treaty is signed off by the House of Commons.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson has said that while the UK will leave on October 31st “deal or no deal”, he suggested that a new leader could persuade the intransigent EU to change the treaty.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said that while he thought it was a mistake to take ‘no deal’ off the table he believes he, too, can go back to Brussels rather than take the UK out of the bloc on no deal, saying on Peston on Wednesday night that he would rather delay Brexit further than leave without a deal and face risk of a General Election.

Mr Farage warned the Tory candidates earlier in the week that it was folly to attempt to renegotiate the treaty, saying:  “Every single person here in the European Commission, and leading groups in the European Parliament, will not change by one dot or comma of that withdrawal agreement.”


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