No-deal Brexit 'reasonably probable outcome' of talks, warns former EU representative

3 October 2020, 12:44

Former UK representative to the EU explains depth of Brexit deadlock

By Seán Hickey

The UK's former permanent representative to the EU fears that a no-deal Brexit could come unless negotiating parties don't resolve issues surrounding state aid.

Sir Ivan Rogers is former UK permanent representative to the EU and as Brexit negotiations intensify this week with the 15th October deadline approaching, he offered Matt Frei some expert insight into the negotiating stance of both sides.

He began by telling Matt that for the EU and Michel Barnier, "the integrity of the entire project and the integrity of the single market" is at stake if ground is given to the UK in Brexit talks.

He outlined that it makes sense to the EU that if you leave the bloc "certain things automatically happen which diminish your rights," such as market access.

Sir Ivan insisted however that contrary to popular belief, "the crux of this is not really fisheries." He told LBC that "the crux of this is the state aid subsidies issue."

"Both sides starting positions were fundamentally unjustified," the former permanent representative said, which he fears could lead to a deal not being struck.

Brexit negotiations are approaching their final days
Brexit negotiations are approaching their final days. Picture: PA

Sir Ivan told Matt that to avoid no-deal, "they would have to agree a set of principles which underpin both subsidies regimes on both sides."

"Political assurances won't cut it for the other side."

"We're still more likely to end up with no deal than a deal" the former representative feared.

Matt was surprised by the comments of Sir Ivan, and asked him to clarify if he indeed believed the UK would leave without a deal.

"No-deal was always a reasonably probable outcome," he confirmed.