A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Britain, say academics

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-21 02:02:42|Editor: yan
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LONDON, July 20 (Xinhua) -- A no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Britain, say academics in a report published on Thursday.

The British government is currently in talks in Brussels with the European Union (EU) over the terms of the Brexit divorce deal which will see the country leave the union by March 2019.

This deadline is fixed unless both sides can agree an extension or a transitional arrangement for EU laws operating in Britain.

The report by Britain in a Changing Europe, an independent academic think-tank based at King's College, London, and drawing on academics from across Britain and elsewhere, said that if the country failed to reach a deal with the EU then the cost would be ""widespread, damaging and pervasive".

According to the report, called "The Cost of a No Deal", in the event of a what the report calls a "chaotic Brexit" with no deal struck, Britain's nuclear plants may not be able to operate, British airlines might be unable to fly, and both British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in Britain would find themselves in a legal limbo.

"'No deal' doesn't mean the country would come to a stop. But even under relatively benign conditions and with time to prepare, the impacts would be widespread, damaging and pervasive," said Professor Anand Menon, the chairman of Britain in a Changing Europe.

A chaotic Brexit would also have serious political and economic implications for Northern Ireland, where the border with Ireland is currently merely a line on the map but will turn into an active customs border once Brexit is implemented.

Potential uncertainty when it comes to monitoring and implementing rules, notably in the area of the environment, could result in weaker protections.

Legal chaos over the enforcement of contracts is an one area of uncertainty which could prove costly and time consuming for British businesses exporting to the EU.

Complex cross-border supply chains would be disrupted, partly because customs checks, tariffs and regulatory barriers would not be in place.

Drugs developed in Britain, which has a strong pharmaceutical sector, may not have their approval recognised in other EU member states and clinical trials would be disrupted.

The report demonstrated that a chaotic Brexit might come about in two ways, first through a premature Brexit where talks break down acrimoniously with the Britain unilaterally ceasing to pay its EU contributions and ending the supremacy of EU law in Britain with immediate effect, or through a timed out Brexit: where the talks do not completely break down, but no agreement is reached within the two-year period and there is no extension.

The likely economic impact of no deal includes: a further significant fall in sterling's exchange rate, a consequent rise in inflation, a fall in wages and consumer demand and a fall in business confidence, leading to a slowdown in investment.

The report also claimed there would be serious political ramifications if a premature Brexit occurs.

Professor Menon said: "Our findings show a chaotic Brexit would, at least in the short term, spawn a political mess, a legal morass and an economic disaster. This report makes it clear 'no deal' is an outcome the British government must strive to avoid."