The European Commission has urged for calmness as Brexit discussion go near a knife-edge conclusion following what it called “horror stories” over the likelihood of a no-deal scenario.
Margaritis Schinas, its chief spokesperson, reworked a well-known British saying to sum-up the approach of the commission to the increasingly tense negotiations: “Keep calm and keep negotiating.”
Schinas spoke following reports that the European Union was stepping-up its preparations for a no-deal scenario because of fears that a deal will be voted down at Westminster.
Ambassadors of the European Union were warned of the possibility that Tory rebels and Labour MPs could bring down a deal during a briefing on the latest contingency plans of the commission on Wednesday.
A document that was prepared for the said meeting revealed that “preparedness work has to intensify in the months ahead at national as well as EU level, as uncertainty remains about the outcome of the negotiations and the ratification of a possible deal.”
On Thursday, Schinas disclosed that the commission was not “neglecting” its duty to prepare for a no-deal scenario. He pointed out that the United Kingdom and the other member states of the bloc would be doing the same.
However, he said that the commission was placing its resources and attention into its “plan A” – which is a Brexit deal by the 18th of October.
He stated: “You give me the opportunity to suggest that we all collectively take a certain distance from the many horror stories that are being circulated – for example, the secretary general having to be flown back from New York to dramatically explain the preparedness plan. Things like this.”
He added: “I think that we need serenity, calmness, coolness to proceed with our work. We are in the business, as Michel Barnier said, of de-dramatising. We are working for a deal that’s what matters. That’s what our priority is and that’s what we’ll continue doing.”
This week, the Brexit discussions are continuing between civil servants, however, there will not be a meeting between Michel Barnier, the EU chief Brexit negotiator, and Dominic Raab, the UK Brexit secretary.
Schinas disclosed that the commission would “keep calm and keep negotiating” at all levels.
That echoed the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, who attempted to de-escalate by a Brexit row at the EU summit in Salzburg last week by telling reporters: “Don’t worry, be happy.”
And it is almost the same as the text on the favourite mug of Barnier which says: “Keep calm and negotiate.”