OECD head Angel Gurria urges Brexit delay to avoid ‘no-deal’ risk | Business News
The head of the OECD has insisted he is deeply concerned about the economic risks of a “no-deal” Brexit and urged Parliament to extend the Article 50 negotiation period, if necessary into the autumn or beyond.
Angel Gurria told Sky News that there would be severe costs from a no-deal Brexit and that politicians should avoid it.
It followed an interview yesterday in which he appeared sanguine about the implications if the UK failed to seal a deal.
A no-deal Brexit refers to a situation where the UK will leave the EU with no agreements in place for what the future relationship will look like. It means the UK will fall back to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on global trade.
The Article 50 negotiation period is due to finish on 29 March. Article 50 is the part of the Lisbon Treaty that allows EU member states to leave.
In his earlier interview, also broadcast on Sky News, the Secretary General of the OECD, the formal grouping of developed nations, said that the international community would simply “roll with it” if there were a no-deal Brexit.
However, in a subsequent interview today Mr Gurria said that this was to understate the economic risks.
Asked whether there were indeed costs associated with leaving without a deal, he said: “There are always costs: even a deal will have a cost but a no-deal will be even more expensive. So you can’t be relaxed about it.
“The stakes are too high. So we just we have to keep on trying. We have to just make do our best and go for it.”
Mr Gurria’s apparently relaxed attitude the previous day had sparked reaction on social media, where some had declared it was evidence that a no-deal would be significantly less damaging than many had suggested.
However, Mr Gurria said the priority for all parties should be a negotiated deal – even if that meant delaying the official date Britain left the EU until into the Autumn or beyond.
“If it needs a month, two, three, five, six months: so be it,” he said.
“This is so important; it’s 40 years of togetherness. If you need more time and you have a shot at getting a better deal for everybody then why not?”