No-deal Brexit a real possibility, Dutch PM says
"We must really take a no-deal Brexit into account", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Luxembourg after a Benelux summit. He called on the British to "please" make up their minds and make clear how they want to leave the European Union before April 12th. "Come to a political agreement, that is really crucial", Rutte said, the Telegraaf reports.
"A hard Brexit is bad for all of us: Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and certainly the western part of Germany is affected, as well as Denmark, Ireland and the western part of France", the Dutch Prime Minister said. "It affects the whole of Europe and the whole world in the sense that we are apparently not able to let 65 million people, the world's fifth largest economy, leave the European Union in a decent way."
The European government leaders will meet again in Brussels next week Wednesday to discuss the United Kingdom's departure from the EU. "But ultimately it is up to the British to decide how they want to do it", Rutte said. "The ball is in the UK's court."
Earlier this week the British House of Commons again voted down all the Brexit options. A group of British parliamentarians want to force the government to request a new extension, to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on April 12th. They unveiled a bill on Tuesday in which they want to instruct the British government to push for further postponement, according to the newspaper. For the UK to get another postponement, all other EU member states must agree.
Whether the British will get another postponement remains to be seen. The UK was initially scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th, so they were already granted one postponement. Though a number of the Member States seemed reluctant. Prime Minister Mark Rutte repeatedly said that the British can ask for a postponement, but they must make clear what they want to do with it. "If the UK ask for delay, the EU will ask what do you want with it? We don't want to go round in circles for the next couple of months. What will be achieved by it?" he said in February.
A no-deal Brexit will be a big blow for the Netherlands. In December the Dutch Court of Audit calculated that the UK leaving the EU with no deal in place will cost the Netherlands around 2.3 billion euros up to 2023. Last month German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung said that a no-deal Brexit will cost the Netherlands 3.16 billion euros per year.