The Portuguese secretary of state for finance expects Britain to have an "orderly exit" from the EU, he said this Monday to reporters in Brussels. Government is now focused on "issues of contingency".
Portugal’s secretary of state for finance said on Monday that the government expects an agreement to be reached that makes possible the UK’s orderly exit from the European Union while stressing it is prepared for a “no deal”.
“The Ministry of Finance and the Portuguese government in general … have been monitoring the issue of Brexit and so we have been involved in all the work that has been done at government level on issues of contingency” so that the public “may rest assured”, the secretary of state, Ricardo Mourinho Félix, told journalists in Brussels.
Speaking on his way out of a Eurogroup meeting, the secretary of state stressed that everyone involved is working towards reaching “a Brexit solution that is cooperative, and therefore so that it is not necessary to activate any contingency plans”, but confirmed that these existed at both national and EU level.
“We are looking at a set of issues in the economic and financial area, obviously, where it is necessary to understand where there will indeed be a Brexit that is not cooperative [and] how a set of issues can be resolved that I would not now like to detail nor address now,” he said.
Reiterating that a “cooperative” Brexit is “in the best interests both of the United Kingdom and of the European Union and of all states and all citizens”, Mourinho Félix acknowledged, however, that the risk of no deal “obviously exists and cannot be denied” in view of the difficulties that the UK prime minister, Theresa May, is seen as having in securing approval of the draft agreement in parliament.
The heads of state and government of the EU’s 27 remaining members are to hold an extraordinary European Council meeting next Sunday in Brussels to approve the draft agreement reached with the UK last week, even as it remains unclear whether the parliament in London will rubber-stamp the deal, amid vehement opposition by many members of May’s own Conservative Party