The European Union hopes to break the deadlock with the United Kingdom, but fears a failure.
Usually in Brussels, we never speak openly about “plans B”: the subject is taboo. To confirm their existence amounts to killing “Plan A”, it was thought, for example, during the Greek crisis, when the “Grexit” threatened. The European Commission is thus making a historic exception with Brexit, while still hoping to seal a deal in time with Theresa May’s government.
In fact, for almost a year now, the Brussels institution, which is in charge of negotiating a divorce with London, is actively working in parallel with the dreaded “no deal” scenario with the United Kingdom. Without hiding too much, even if it does not make a noisy advertisement.
After a first press conference in July, the Commission alerted the end of August to the need to plan “emergency” measures, “temporary” to “mitigate the effects” of a “no deal”. Devices designed to ensure a certain continuity of the existing, to avoid total chaos from March 30, 2019: supply disruptions (food, assembly lines), endless queues, aircraft nailed to the ground, etc.
The Brussels institution is planning to communicate again on a possible “no deal” on Wednesday 10 October, a week before the European summit on 18 October devoted to Brexit. The Commission is aware of manipulating a stick of dynamite, giving the impression of turning away from its primary objective, the divorce agreement focusing mainly on the fate of expatriates, the “remainder to pay” of the British to the budget of the Union, and the Irish question, with the need to preserve the absence of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
But does it have the choice, after the fiasco of the Salzburg summit, less than six months of Brexit and two weeks of a new summit presented as a “moment of truth” by Donald Tusk, the president …