Is a no-deal Brexit unavoidable?

With less than three months to go before Britain is due to leave the EU, hopes of averting a no-deal Brexit are dwindling. Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists that the backstop must be removed from the Brexit deal, but the Commission is digging in its heels.

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The Evening Standard (GB) /

An era of populists, not parliaments

Opponents of a hard Brexit from several parties in the House of Commons are joining forces to prevent an unregulated Brexit at the parliamentary level - if necessary against the will of Prime Minister Johnson. But they won't have it easy, The Evening Standard stresses:

“Our era favours the mentality of impatient direct democracy. It is the era of Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon rather than Erskine May and Hansard, a life lived through the instant gratification of apps rather than cumbersome political mechanisms and procedures. The history of the 20th century shows how dangerous the actions are of leaders who claim to speak on behalf of 'the people' more authentically than parliamentary assemblies. Yet we also live in an age of cultural amnesia, in which such painful lessons are fading from memory. Those of us who still believe representative democracy is superior to the direct variety have a mighty battle on our hands.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Bluffing till the bitter end

Not even Johnson can really believe that he will pull through with his no-deal tactics, Kerstil Leitel, the London correspondent of the Handelsblatt paper surmises:

“Resistance in parliament is too great. But if he were to acknowledge this now and cave in, it would be his downfall - with hordes of conservative voters crossing over to the Brexit party at the next election. Only if Johnson plays the unyielding hardliner to the bitter end can he hope to win an election when - finally acting like a sensible politician - he calls one after all. Until that day comes Johnson will press ahead with preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Only when parliament stops him will he offer to demand an extension in Brussels and call new elections.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Brussels was always flexible with the euro

The EU could easily accommodate London, there's absolutely no need for such stubbornness, argues The Daily Telegraph.

“Claims that the EU would be unable to violate certain sacred - and often arbitrarily defined - 'principles' are simply factually incorrect. During the eurozone crisis, emergency bailout funds worth billions and billions of euros were agreed over a weekend, in open violation of the letter and the spirit of EU rules, given how Germany had only sacrificed its D-Mark in return for a Treaty ban on bailouts. During the chaos of the migration crisis, member states simply stopped applying the letter of the Schengen agreement, which scraps passport checks, once again dubiously bending the law.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

No-deal will take things back to square one

Britons advocating a radical break with the EU are operating under a misconception, The Irish Times warns:

“Far from bringing things to a conclusion, a no-deal Brexit would result in a whole new round of British-European Union negotiations. This would mean a reboot of the whole agonising process and at the top of the nightmarish agenda would be finding 'a solution to the Irish Border'. As well as being provocative, European Council President Donald Tusk may actually have been prophesying when he said there is a 'special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without a plan'. As Mr Varadkar noted, those 'weary of Brexit', who hope the negotiations end on October 31 - deal or no-deal - are in for a shock.”

Sega (BG) /

Johnson does not have the people on his side

A no-deal Brexit would be thoroughly undemocratic, argues Adelina Marini, a columnist for Sega.

“Brexit is not just an historical decision with catastrophic consequences, it is also a putsch against democracy. ... The Brexiteers are pushing to leave the EU, but can't even be bothered to negotiate a deal anymore, arguing that it is the will of the people. But British citizens voted to leave the EU with a deal. Quite apart from the fact that people's opinions on Brexit have changed significantly since 2016. It's now hard to claim that Boris Johnson and his clique have a mandate to carry out Brexit at all, let alone without a deal.”