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Barnier warns 'no-deal Brexit more likely' - EU has to protect its borders

Crash out can still be avoided says Brexit chief

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has said it is up to the UK how it wants to leave the EU warning it has to implement checks to protect its single market.

He said the EU was working on considering operational ways to put in place the necessary checks to protect the single market.

"We have to implement everywhere at each and every external border of the EU three types of controls to protect consumers," he is reported to have said.


Mr Barnier also warned there would be "significant risks for the EU" for any extension which would need to be justified saying there would also be a political cost.

He said businesses within the EU were warning against "extending uncertainty".

Mr Barnier's comments come after another night in the Commons which saw MPs reject all alternative options for Brexit.

The Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said there was still time to leave the EU with a deal by approving the prime minister's deal.

Theresa May is holding a marathon session of the Cabinet to discuss further options. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is travelling to France to meet with President Macron to discuss Brexit.

The DUP has urged the government to push for changes to the withdrawal agreement, namely the hated backstop option.

Michel Barnier said the EU was prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in Brussels, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said: "If the UK Parliament does not vote in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement in the coming days only two options would remain.

"Leaving without an agreement or requesting a longer extension of the Article 50 period."

Mr Barnier said it "would be the responsibility" of the UK Government to choose between leaving without an agreement or seeking an extension.

He added: "No deal was never our desired or intended scenario.

"But the EU is now prepared."

He said no deal "becomes day after day more likely".

Mr Barnier gave three possible reasons for a possible justification of an extension. Those being a new referendum, an election or to give the Commons time to consider the political declaration.

"The UK may ask for another extension. Such an extension would carry significant risks for the EU," he said.

"Therefore a strong justification would be needed.

"Many businesses in the EU warn us against the cost of extending uncertainty.

"There would also be a political cost."

Mr Barnier said: "If the UK is still a member state on May 23 it will have to organise the European elections.

"It will have to nominate a member of the next European Commission.

"The UK would stay longer as a member on its way out."

He added: "We have always said that we can accept a customs union, or relationship along the style of the Norway model.

"In fact, however, the Political Declaration today can accommodate all of these options already.

"It leaves the door open for a variety of outcomes.

"But if the UK so wishes we are ready to rework the Political Declaration."

Belfast Telegraph