German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that the British economy would face “consequences” if the United Kingdom decides to break the divorce agreement with new domestic legislation. The post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the European Union has descended into war-of-words after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted at a willful violation of the divorce treaty.
After a meeting of EU finance ministers in Berlin, Scholz told reporters that no-deal Brexit would have “very significant” consequences for the British economy. He insisted that Europe has been preparing for the transition and would be able to deal with it, stressing that there won’t be particularly difficult consequences for the bloc.
"My assessment is that a disorderly situation would have very significant consequences for the British economy; Europe would be in a position to deal with it, and there wouldn't be particularly severe consequences after the preparations we have already made," said Scholz.
Earlier, British PM had said that a no-deal exit would be a “good outcome for the UK”, triggering strong reactions from the 27-member bloc. UK government tabled a controversial new bill which will override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement struck with the EU ahead of Brexit. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that no-deal exit would undermine trust and break the international law.
European Council President Charles Michel said that the Withdrawal Agreement was concluded and ratified by both sides and has to be applied in full. He added that breaking international law is not acceptable and does not create the confidence they need to build our future relationship. Maroš Šefčovič, a senior EU official, called for an extraordinary joint committee meeting as soon as possible.
We expect the letter and spirit of the #WithdrawalAgreement to be fully respected. I have called for an extraordinary EU-UK Joint Committee to be held as soon as possible - so that our UK partners elaborate and respond to our strong concerns regarding their announcement. pic.twitter.com/MhhWj9MUnC— Maroš Šefčovič🇪🇺 (@MarosSefcovic) September 9, 2020
The UK has been facing backlash for its alleged “intransigent and unrealistic” attitude during the Brexit trade talks, leading to a stalemate after several rounds of negotiations. In August, Germany’s European affairs minister Michael Roth said that the UK needs to be more ‘realistic and pragmatic’ in the Brexit negotiations. At a working seminar with French ambassadors in Europe, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the European Union was united as ever to reach as the 27-member bloc prepares for an end of the transition period.
(With AP inputs)