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    UK Trade Minister Liam Fox has said that intransigence from the European Commission is pushing the United Kingdom towards a no-deal Brexit. Mr. Fox stressed that unless the EU prioritizes the economic well-being of the people of Europe there could only be one outcome of Brexit.

    Sputnik has discussed this with Chris Rowley, Professor at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford.

    Sputnik: What's your take on the claim made by the British Trade Minister, is the European Union really pushing London towards a no deal scenario and Liam Fox has also claimed that a no deal looked credible from the European Union‘s point of view, do you think that is really the case? What is your take those two?

    Chris Rowley: I think Dr. Fox has got it spot on with those two comments. One side, it's a classic negotiating strategy from the EU to threaten Armageddon and at the last minute perhaps have a deal. So at the moment, there's no incentive to do that, and then the other side of that coin is that a credible threat? Well, I think it is, because leaving under either a no deal or a trade agreement opt-out would be perfectly feasible.

    READ MORE: UK Trade Minister: EU 'Intransigence' Pushing UK Away From Brexit Deal — Reports

    Sputnik: Would that mean a success for the European Union?

    Chris Rowley: Again, you have to question if it will ever come to a no deal, which I doubt, given that, as you hit the nail on the head with the threat to the European Union economies. Particular ones there will be more damaged, the one that comes to note straight away will be Ireland. There will be nothing left of their dairy and beef farmers, that's for sure.

    Secondly, there'll be nothing left of the German car industry or the Italian Prosecco makers. So they don't want to leave without that deal, so hence the strategy to kind of peel those off against the unified European Union; where some countries won't be affected a lot, certain countries will be mega affected.

    Sputnik: Do you think then this statement by Liam Fox and Barnier saying that negotiations are going absolutely fine from their point of view, they can see the malaise going on, Liam Fox can see that nothing is really moving forward, are they push the UK into a corner to submit to a cheap and profitable deal for the EU as possible, if you like?

    Chris Rowley: Oh yes, don't forget, that's what the European Union does. They're a bunch of negotiators and they've done it all their life and with a political purpose. I'm not surprised by anything that comes out of there and Mr. Barnier is a classic example of that. He's quickly shifted his position on financial services, for example, if you look at last week‘s comments from him.

    Before he was adamant that no possible deal was possible, in fact, he offered the Americans one in 2014 on financial services, and now he's saying well, perhaps, there could be. It's a question of political will as the Governor of the Bank of England has always said, if you look at his comments over the last few months, everything is feasible, it is just a question of political will to do that, of course.

    Sputnik: Supporters of Brexit have stated that there will be some short-term pain for Britain's economy but noted that it will prosper in the long-term when cut free from the bloc, are you in agreement with that?

    Chris Rowley: I think I am, probably on the balance, of course, people don't like uncertainty, individuals, companies, people don't like that. Companies are set up to make the best they can from being in the European Union. They've been doing that since the mid-70s, so change to that will be painful. However, the opportunities around the world, if you look at the growth figures in the European Union and our trade with them has been declining.

    We have been exporting more to other countries outside the European Union then we do in the EU. The percentage of our imports and exports have been declining since the early noughties really, and that's going to predict to go on because the Chinas and the Indias of this world aren't members of the European Union. The stagnant economies are members of the European Union.

    READ MORE: UK Could Develop Independent Satellite System After Leaving EU — Professor

    Sputnik: Much maligned Theresa May has been trying to present her Brexit vision in a series of state visits, what do you make of her strategy, she seems to change her strategy every week, doesn't she?

    Chris Rowley: I think it's probably a wise thing to do. If you remember back last year she was doing similar things when she went off to Japan; trying to say would you be interested in a one-on-one trade agreement like you're trying to negotiate with EU and they were sending out positive signals, and it's exactly the same strategy now.

    The European Union must present a united image of 27 completely uniform economies but we know the reality, it is composed of very diverse economies. The German manufacturing powerhouse versus less powerful manufacturing powerhouses, or the Italians with the collapsing banking system. So they need to try to maintain their unified position. So I think it's a clever strategy to try and peel them off, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the big payers into the European Union.

    Sputnik: What's your take on Theresa May then in terms of her ability to deliver a clear exit of the UK from the European Union? And some experts have said that Mrs. May's days as prime minister are numbered?Chris Rowley:

    Chris Rowley:What we need to do is think back not too long ago, maybe a year or so ago with George Osborne‘s comments about "a dead woman walking," well, she still's walking, isn't she? So he was wrong, and it's a brave person who would want to take over that poisoned chalice, and thirdly, if you look at the characteristics of the prime minister, for all the faults and failures that everybody knows about, she's tenacious and I just do not see her resigning.

    I see her being dragged out, but I don't see her going willingly against her will to go. It's just not going to happen. We've had the resignation of the Foreign Secretary, David Davis and those are quite big hitters to be gone and she's still there.

    The views and opinions expressed by Chris Rolley are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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