MEPs try to turn away from Brexit

Author: Marcus Schilling
Date: 15.01.2019

Over one hundred MEPs have written an open letter to the UK to prevent Brexit, according to various media. In the document they appeal to Britain to cancel the EU withdrawal. At the same time German business representatives warn of the economic consequences for Germany in the event of an unregulated Brexit.

Assurance of support

“In the interests of the next generation, we ask you to reconsider your resignation” said a draft of the letter which will be distributed in Great Britain at the beginning of the week. This was reported by Funke Media Group. MEPs also reaffirm their support: “Any British decision to remain in the EU would be greatly welcomed by us and we would work with you to reform and improve the European Union”.

It continues, saying MEPs have “greatly appreciated the enormous influence of British politicians and citizens over the past 40 years. We would miss the extraordinary expertise of our British colleagues. One of the MPs and co-author Peter Liese (CDU) explained to the Funke Media Group “We want to send a message to the people and thus also to the House of Commons and make it clear: If the British decide to stay, they are welcome.”

According to Liese, if the Brexit is cancelled, some “little things” would have to be changed. However, this would have to be borne in comparison to the “enormous damage” that occurs with a Brexit and in particular with an unregulated resignation.

The Brexit vote on Tuesday

Next Tuesday the British Parliament will vote on the Brexit agreement between London and Brussels. A rejection is considered very likely. British Prime Minister Theresa May warned against an unregulated Brexit with serious consequences for the economy. Or there would be no EU withdrawal at all.

Furthermore, a stop of the EU withdrawal is forecast. An exit without a deal is rather unlikely. The British news agency PA quoted this from a May speech manuscript on Monday morning.

EU expects Brexit postponement

According to media reports, the EU is preparing for a postponement of the Brexit. The British “Guardian” reported in its online edition of a statement by senior EU officials that Brussels did not expect the deadline to be met. The reason for this lies in the strong national opposition to the Brexit agreement, which the prime minister is dealing with.

It is also estimated that London will request an extension of the withdrawal period under Article 50 of the EU Treaties in the coming weeks. A first extension until July would be a first step in the right direction and would give the Prime Minister more time to revise and confirm the current agreement. If May tells the parliament that she needs more time, she will be granted the postponement until July, the paper says, citing the testimony of an EU official.

Preparation for unregulated Brexit

In the event of an unregulated withdrawal, the German economy could be hit hard. German business representatives warned: “In Germany about 750,000 jobs depend on trade with Great Britain. Without the deal, millions more in customs declarations and billions more in customs duties would be due,” Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, told Funke Mediengruppe. Production processes and supply chains would also be interrupted.

Schweitzer therefore advises that Great Britain must prepare itself for a chaotic Brexit. For example, regulations on flight connections or licenses for road haulage would make sense.

The president of the foreign trade association BGA, Holger Bingmann, is also concerned: “If the deal fails, the effects would be massive on both sides, in Great Britain as well as in Europe and especially in Germany. Due to the short time until the deadline, there will be a lot of chaos anyway, which will also have a strong impact on trade.”