November 15, 2017
Remember the story of the madman who jumps from the 100th floor of a building and, when he reaches the 50th, says “This is going well so far…”?
This reminds me of Ms May who, depending on the mood, calls for ‘soft Brexit’ one day, ‘hard Brexit’ the next and then for ‘cliff-edge Brexit’, the latter being a literal jump off the cliff (or at best, a leap into the void).
We can understand the logic of ‘soft Brexit’ or even ‘hard Brexit’, but ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ has none at all. Nor is it legally feasible. Despite Michel Barnier’s statement to the Sunday papers that it is necessary to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario, the absence of an agreement would in my view mean the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union beyond 29 March 2019 – far from the ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ scenario.
Those who consider ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ as a scenario on the same plane as soft or hard Brexit ignore the fact that the European Union, and therefore the UK, are linked by international law, by the treaties they have concluded and in particular the rules of the WTO.
To claim that the UK could leave the EU unilaterally without a prior agreement with its commercial partners in the EU and with the World Trade Organisation: I am afraid that this is the height of folly.Daniel Gueguen