'High probability' of no-deal on Brexit, says Phil Hogan

EU commissioner Phil Hogan has said there is a "high probability" of a no-deal on Brexit, after warning of a “messy” few weeks ahead.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, the agriculture commissioner spoke about US President Donald Trump, problems around Brexit as well as international trade.

Asked by journalists after his speech about the possibility now of a no-deal on Brexit, Mr Hogan responded:

It is a very high probability. The way things are going. The turmoil in the House of Commons was a perfect example of it recently. Even if we do a deal, ultimately, will it be ultimately agreed to by the House of Commons. So there are a lot of imponderables which would lead everybody to believe, and certainly the view of the European Commission, that we should prepare for a no deal.

Nonetheless, Mr Hogan said the October deadline for a withdrawal deal on Brexit was “realistic with goodwill”.

Earlier, during his address to the Glenties summer school, the commissioner advised that the EU and Ireland needed to “bully” back US president Donald Trump.

Mr Hogan also warned of a “messy few weeks” ahead with the transatlantic trade war as well as Brexit.

He advised that Ireland needed to “bypass” the White House when it came to dealing with the US administration. Furthermore, more than 70% of foreign direct investment into the US came from the EU and the amount itself had doubled over the last 15 years, the audience was told.

Mr Hogan asked what was the problem with the US administration, added:

“What is wrong with them?”

The former minister also advocated the need for a good outcome on Brexit for EU and Ireland.

Ireland needs a good outcome here - we absolutely need Britain to be prosperous after Brexit. This is what gives the lie to commentators - and some people who should know better - alleging that Ireland wishes Britain ill in what lies ahead. This could not be further from the truth. We need a prosperous Britain to keep buying our beef, enjoying our cheeses, using our services and so much more besides. We need the UK to get this right.

But Ireland also needed to see a 'so-called' backstop agreed for the North, Mr Hogan said, adding:

“But, as an absolute priority, the EU needs to see our backstop or insurance mechanism in the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol nailed down – to ensure that, no matter what, as Prime Minister May pledged again last Friday, there will be no going back to any physical infrastructure at the border.”

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