Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva has hit out at the EU for not allowing member states to secure their own bespoke, bilateral trade deals with Britain while Brexit negotiations have been faltering.
Warning that they are currently in a state of “suspension” and “limbo”, Silva said the stalled negotiations between Brussels and the UK is raising the likelihood of a hard Brexit, which he described as the worst possible outcome.
“At the same time, it limits member states like Portugal [in their ability to] deal with their bilateral relationship [with the UK].”
Moreover, the Portuguese official suggested they will negotiate their own deal with the UK after March 2019, as they can’t do so until then due to EU rules, warning that their economy will be severely hurt by a hard Brexit, as Britain is a key market for Portuguese exports.
Portugal is also a popular tourist destination for many Brits, who have propped up the southern European country’s economy in recent years.
However, with negotiators still unable to find a solution to the issue of the Irish border, a hard Brexit is looking increasingly likely, and all sides have already started planning for such an eventuality.