A sentiment shared by many in Finland. A protester held a placate stating “Brexit is bonkers” while attending a rally organised by the pro-European People’s Vote campaign in London on Saturday, 23 March 2019. (Isabel Infantes – AFP/Lehtikuva)

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A HARD BREXIT is more likelier than ever, views Arto Satonen (NCP), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Grand Committee.

The European Union and United Kingdom on Friday agreed to postpone the withdrawal by at least two weeks by extending Article 50, granting British Prime Minister Theresa May a third opportunity to push her exit deal through the Parliament.

If the deal is accepted, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 22 May, one day before the elections to the European Parliament. If the deal is rejected for the third time, the British Parliament will be able to weigh up alternative options, including seeking further extension and crashing out of the EU, until 12 April.

Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union lays out the procedure for member states to voluntarily leave the EU.

Satonen on Sunday reminded in a press release that a no-deal withdrawal would be a major blow to the Finnish economy and create considerable uncertainty.

“Brexit is a sad display of short-sighted populism depriving tens of millions of people of hope,” he stated. “A no-deal Brexit would immediately also dent Finland. Great Britain is an important trade partner for us and exports would likely contract substantially if it exits the EU without an agreement.”

Finland exported a total of 2.7 billion euros worth of goods and 1.4 billion euros worth of services to the UK in 2017.

Satonen estimated that the best of the worst options would be to accept the exit deal and weigh up other options during the two-month extension. The UK, he added, has thus far managed to determine only that it wants neither to revoke its withdrawal notification, to accept the withdrawal deal in place, nor to leave the bloc without an agreement.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi