EU Brexit Chief Preparing for ‘Possible’ Failure in Talks With UK

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand, AFP

E.U. Brexit chief Michel Barnier said Sunday that he is making contingency plans for the “possible” failure of divorce talks with Britain.

“It’s not my [preferred] option,” he told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD). “But it’s a possibility. Everyone needs to plan for it, member states and businesses alike. We too are preparing for it technically.”

He recalled that without a deal on post-Brexit trade terms the E.U. and Britain would revert to World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs, with trade ties “like those we have with China”.

On Friday Mr. Barnier gave Britain a two-week ultimatum to make concessions on a divorce agreement if it wants to unlock the next phase of talks in December.

He said it was “vital” for Britain to increase its offer on its exit bill – which a figure senior EU officials put at up to 60 billion euros ($70 billion) – to open up talks on a future trade deal.

EU Gives Britain Two-Week Brexit Deadline