EU chief admits ‘big problem’ amid ‘danger’ EU states could follow Brexit Britain’s lead

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As the end of the transition period looms closer, a no deal Brexit is seeming more and more likely as neither side has been able to come to an agreement. Fishing and state aid continue to stall negotiations.

Now, the new Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee (ESSC), Cillian Lohan, has warned a no deal outcome would create “enormous difficulties”.

He said: “The no deal would create enormous difficulties for each member state to overcome, some more than others.

“At the level of production and trade, the negative impact is difficult to quantify because it would have a ripple effect on all national economies.

“That said, many companies and the European Union itself are also preparing for this eventuality: we have seen how difficult, sometimes meaningless, negotiations are.”

The Irish national also noted a “problem” for the EU which now “affects all member states”.

He said: “Many British citizens voted in favour of Brexit because they no longer recognised themselves in the European institutions, they looked too disconnected from their reality.
“It is a big problem, but it now affects all member states.”

Mr Lohan went on to explain how the “danger exists” for other member states to follow Britain and leave the EU.

When asked by EU News whether similar risks are on the horizon, Mr Lohan said: “Not concretely, at the moment.

“But the danger exists in the future.

“Many national governments are still strong in a schema according to which the Union would impose decisions on member states and its citizens through the European Council.

“It is important to respond with a communication strategy that highlights our democratic decision-making process and transparency.”

The EESC is made up of 329 members from its 27 member states who are nominated by their national governments and appointed by the Council of the European Union for a period of five years.

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Since Britain left the EU, many have speculated other member states – such as Italy – may follow the UK.

Last month, Italexit campaigner, Gianluigi Paragone, told it is time for Italy to plan new bilateral agreements with third countries across the world to resuscitate its economy as an independent and sovereign nation outside of the bloc.

Asked how he would respond to those who say it is “too late” for Italy to go back to its national currency after the euro, he said: “Too late for which chronometer, for which clock?

“If the clock is that of history, ‘too late’ is really too relative.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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