Poland determined to rescue Brexit deal - Dep FM

Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymański has said in London that Poland is determined to "rescue the agreement" concerning Brexit, warning that otherwise there would be "toxic" mutual blaming for the unsuccessful negotiations.

Szymański spoke on the subject during the Saturday Polish Economic Forum conference in London, where he appeared in a panel alongside historian Adam Zamoyski, Polish Institute of International Affairs analyst Przemysław Biskup and lobbyist Marek Matraszek.

Speaking just three days before a planned second vote on the Brexit deal in the British House of Commons, the Polish deputy foreign minister underscored that the Warsaw government is one of those that is "most loudly demanding a flexible, creative approach from the European Commission, (EU chief negotiator - PAP) Michel Barnier, and finally the European Council, in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, because it is in Poland's strategic interests."

"Lack of an agreement would mean that we would find ourselves in an unprecedented situation," Szymański observed. "(...) A return to World Trade Organisation rules from March 30 would be a tragedy for the British economy but also for the EU economy. There is an important message from Warsaw: it is not exclusively Great Britain's problem," he warned.

Konrad Szymański added that "in trade relations (...) there are losers on both sides of the table," and admitted that "if extending (the withdrawal process - PAP) would help us come to that result, to avoid a no-deal scenario, it would be welcomed by Warsaw."

At the same time, he cautioned that such an extension would have to be within the framework of a mutual negotiating mandate established by the 27 other member states, and the UK would have to present a clear reason why it needs such an extension.

"Blame has already started to be cast (for a lack of agreement - PAP)," the deputy minister declared. "If that lack of success (in negotiations) becomes a reality, the scale of mutual accusations on both sides of the channel would be enormous (...). It would be a waste of time and a toxic development of events, taking into account our future relations, renewal of which - and we believe they should be as close as possible - would be hampered even more so than today."

He added that "the stakes are really high," and called on all governments taking part in Brexit negotiations for a "pragmatic and visionary approach to the situation."

"A no-deal scenario would cause the political context (for British-EU relations - PAP) to be catastrophic," the deputy minister for EU affairs warned, explaining that that is why Poland is "so determined to rescue this agreement with the help of all available instruments."