The European Commission reiterated its openness and readiness to hold talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid a hard Brexit that would cause significant economic disruption, of a larger extent to the UK than to the EU-27, according to a the chief spokeswoman for the EU executive, Mina Andreeva, said on Monday.
According to Andreeva, the position of the European Commission remains that the agreement reached already on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is not up for negotiation. “But we are open to talk about the political declaration,” she added.
The EU chief spokeswoman also offered explanations to why a no-deal Brexit will mostly hurt the UK than the EU-27. According to the European Commission’s latest no-deal preparedness Communication, this is the case and the quantification of this “proportionately higher impact to the uk than to the EU-27” has been highlighted by many independent studies.
Furthermore, Andreeva dismissed the warnings of Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay to the EU Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, that he will have to “seek a new mandate” to avoid the no-deal withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Barclay’s Op-ed to the UK press called on Barnier to ask for a fresh mandate from European Council, but the European Commission according to the spokeswoman does not ask for a mandate, explaining that the Working group of the European Council for the Article 50 was the one that established the negotiating guidelines.
As for whether a no-deal Brexit will be the UK’s fault, the answer was that “we are not in the blame game, this is not our business, our business is to prepare for a no-deal,” as the Commission always seeks to have “constructive solutions”, but in any case the EU and the member states stand prepared if such a scenario “we do not hope for and we do not wish for, occurs.”