A hard Brexit appears increasingly less probable, Belgian Finance Minister Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) said on Wednesday during a working visit to London. “The threat of a chaotic no-deal is more and more unlikely,” the Flemish Liberal minister tweeted after meetings with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, and parliamentarians.
The fact that the idea of a hard Brexit has “all but disappeared is a good thing because the impact of such a scenario on our economy and jobs would be enormous,” De Croo said after his discussion with Hammond. However, he admitted that there was still great uncertainty about the direction that will be taken in the long term.
With the official date for the British withdrawal – 29 March – just over three weeks away, discussions between British and European negotiators have failed to break the impasse thus far.
Next week will be crucial for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is seeking fresh guarantees on the withdrawal agreement in the hope of having it approved by the British parliament. Should this fail, parliament will need to vote on a possible postponement of the withdrawal date.
“We can certainly postpone Brexit by three months, but the enormous division reigning in the British Parliament will still exist,” De Croo stressed on Wednesday, recalling that Belgium was preparing for all scenarios.