Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that there is a real danger of the Brexit process “falling apart,” which would force the UK to leave the EU without first negotiating trade agreements with the bloc.
Speaking to Reuters in London on Monday, Sturgeon said that, compared to even three months ago, there was now a greater risk that the Brexit process will break down, resulting in a “no deal” scenario in which the EU and the UK fail to agree on the terms of the divorce, followed by a walkout of negotiations, leaving the future of trade relations unresolved.
“The danger if I am being less optimistic, or pessimistic, is that the whole process crashes before [a deal] can emerge because time is running out and the clock is ticking,” she said.
“There is a real risk of a no deal Brexit and that would be pretty catastrophic,” Sturgeon added. A no-deal scenario could result in litigation in international courts, and even asset confiscation – making negotiations on critical issues such as travel, immigration and customs all the more difficult.
The EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Monday that “no significant progress” had been made in negotiations with London since March.