EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier responds to UK Brexit White Paper

Brexit Chief Says UK Must Prepare for No Deal

Brexit Chief Says UK Must Prepare for No Deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May Friday used a speech in Northern Ireland to tout her latest Brexit plan as providing a "bright future" for Northern Ireland that would maintain peace and safeguard jobs.

European Union nations just as steadfastly insist on maintaining the spirit of the Good Friday agreement and also vehemently oppose any hard border on the island.

She looks set on facing down hardline Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who are livid over her plans to negotiate a "free trade area for goods" with the EU.

His speech comes as veteran Conservatives say the party is more divided than ever, and there is speculation she could face a leadership challenge, eight months before the country is due to leave the bloc.

"The danger at the moment is that they will frustrate every move the government seeks to make and by accident, because nothing can be agreed, we will crash out without a deal", he said on the BBC.

During the week, the House of Commons passed a motion that would prevent Northern Ireland agreeing to have separate custom arrangements to the rest of the UK.

The timing of the losses would depend on the length of post-Brexit transition arrangements, but would probably take five to 10 years at least to be fully felt, the International Monetary Fund said.

The Irish border has been the sticking point in the Brexit talks.

Mr Donohoe also said he believes that Mrs May's commitment to an open border is genuine and honest. Only time will tell.

"This is what we're working for but, of course, we need to be prepared for all eventualities".

However, Mr Grieve expressed hope that if an all-encompassing agreement is not reached before March next year then "side deals" would address some of the issues of a "no deal" Brexit.

The EU gave a lukewarm welcome to the paper.

Barnier questioned some other key aspects in the white paper, as well as the Irish border.

Even in the best-case scenario, however, the European Union adds that all sectors must prepare for changes, such as an end to passporting rights in the financial sector, and a requirement for inspections at ports, which will mean recruiting more customs staff.

Plus Barnier pointed to the "facilitated customs arrangement" whereby the United Kingdom would collect tariffs on behalf of the European Union, and how to avoid unfair competitive advantage for British firms if there is alignment on services.

Looking at the trade impact alone, Ireland could lose nearly 4 percent of its economy in a "no deal" Brexit, but some big countries like France, Italy and Spain would be far less hurt. "We should be preparing for trade on World Trade Organization terms", Paterson said.

Earlier Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said Ireland is open to the possibility of an alternative backstop deal, as long as it is better than the EU's current proposal and is legally operable.