By Gabriela Cañas
Madrid/Brussels, Dec 17 (efe-epa).- High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell is optimistic about the chances of an imminent deal on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the bloc.
With 34 years of experience in European affairs, he says that deals always arrive at the last minute and that the price of a no-deal Brexit would be too high.
In an interview with Efe, conducted via videoconference, the EU’s top diplomat said that there would be no Brexit had it not been for the fake news surrounding the bloc in the UK.
He adds, however, that the UK never wanted to be part of a political Europe and that the country decided to make for the exit when it noticed the bloc was heading in a direction it did not like.
Although sticking points like the common fisheries policy and a mechanism for resolving trade disputes are yet to be ironed out, Borrell, who previously served as the Spanish foreign minister, believes a Brexit deal could be close.
“The challenges of leaving without a deal are so big that I believe the need for an agreement will prevail. We will see it in the coming hours,” Borrell tells Efe from his office in Brussels, which is adorned with a large map of Europe.
Borrell recalls the narrative from the pro-Brexit camp on the lead up to the 2016 referendum. One of its major claims was that the money the UK spent on its EU membership was enough to pay for a new hospital each week.
“The day after that false narrative, they were already admitting that they had miscalculated,” Borrell says.
He said the technique had similarities with that of the Catalan independence movement in Spain, in that the UK claimed that it was paying too much for its EU membership just as the pro-independence camp said remaining a part of Spain was financially disadvantageous.