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Ireland’s 2021 budget will be prepared on the basis that Brexit trade talks between Britain and the EU will fail, the government in Dublin said Wednesday.

A finance department statement said the government agreed to base the October 13 budget “on the assumption of a disorderly Brexit” that would see UK-EU trade reverting to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms next year.

Prospects of Britain securing a trade accord with the EU by the end of this year have faded in recent weeks, as London made moves to rewrite its withdrawal treaty already signed with Brussels.

Leaders of the 27 remaining EU member states have warned the unilateral action, which London openly admits would breach international law, undermines confidence in the talks.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that “with every day that passes, chances for a timely agreement do start to fade”.

Both Britain and the EU accept a deal must be reached by mid-October to allow it to be ratified before January 1 next year.

Ireland is the only nation in the EU bloc that shares a land border with Britain, along the 310-mile (500-kilometre) boundary with British-run Northern Ireland.

Trade ties and supply chains between Britain and Ireland are deeply enmeshed.

If exchanges with Britain revert to WTO terms, the flow of trade from the Republic could be stemmed by regulatory costs and steep tariffs.

The Central Bank of Ireland warned in February that Ireland’s overall economic output could shrink by five per cent in that scenario — leaving the nation reeling from the twin blows of Brexit and the coronavirus, which has already ravaged the economy.


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Ben Affleck on post-pandemic future of the mid-budget movie: Its going to be very, very difficult

US reaches 200K coronavirus deaths as Trump praises administration for doing phenomenal job with pandemic Peyton Manning trolls Patriots on MNF Ben Affleck on post-pandemic future of the mid-budget movie: Its going to be very, very difficult

Name a type of film and Ben Affleck has made it. He's won an Oscar for writing a small-scale drama, he's directed a mid-budget heist classic (and a Best Picture winner), and he's been Batman. But, like all of Hollywood, the decorated multi-hyphenate has no idea what the future holds for his industry.

© Provided by Entertainment Weekly Everett Collection

With the uncertainty regarding theaters and the traditional release model, EW recently examined whether COVID will forever kill the Event Movie (please let Tom Cruise go to space first!). Speaking to EW for the 10th anniversary of The Town, his first go-around as star and director, Affleck shared his honest — and slightly grim — thoughts on what comes next for film.

"I don't know what will be the reality post-COVID," he admits. "Who knows what the theatrical business will be like. What I think has happened is that people have grown accustomed during this time to watching from home. It benefited The Way Back, for sure. [Affleck's recent drama made only $14 million in its two weeks in theaters before the pandemic pushed it to VOD.] It had just come out so I think the ability to see a new movie at home enabled us to get many more viewers than would have come out to a theater to pay money to see a sad movie about an alcoholic dealing with the death of his child. People have now been acculturated to streaming and watching movies at home in ways they weren’t before, which probably accelerated a trend that was already taking place."

As a filmmaker, Affleck has lived in the middle, making films for adults that cost hundreds of millions less than the blockbusters he's starred in. And he's continuing that trend with his next directorial outing, an adaption of the book The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, which chronicles the behind-the-scenes story of the 1974 noir classic Chinatown. Despite that project being in development at a studio in Paramount, Affleck doesn't see much of a theatrical future for the types of movies he's become known for.

"I think after COVID movies like The Town, movies like Argo, all the movies I made would effectively end up on streamers," he speculates. "There will probably be like 20 to 25 movies a year that are distributed and they’ll all be big IP movies, whether it’s the type of movies that Disney makes like Aladdin or Star Wars or Avengers, something where you can count on the low-end being half a billion dollars worth of business. And I think it’s going to be very, very difficult for dramas and sort of mid-budget movies like [The Town] to get theatrical distribution. You’ll either see massive, massive movies getting huge wide-scale distribution or small movies doing little prestige releases in a few theaters but mostly being shown on streamers. I think that’s for better or worse, and you can draw your own conclusions, but that would be my best guess about the direction of the movie business just based on what I’m seeing now and experiences I’m having trying to get stuff made."

© Everett Collection With the uncertainty regarding theaters and the traditional release model, the Oscar-winner shares his honest thoughts on where Hollywood goes from here.

Affleck admits — and hopes — that he may be wrong, but he specifically points to two success stories at Netflix to support his theory. Premiering back in April, Chris Hemsworth's action extravaganza Extraction has already been named Netflix's most-viewed original film of all-time, while also landing in the streamer's top 10 is Affleck's Triple Frontier, which reportedly garnered 63 million views in its first four weeks of release last year.

"Triple Frontier did really well for them," says Affleck. "Would it have been as successful and profitable theatrically? I don't know. But I know it was super successful for them, so the economics may really be shifting so that if you can generate a certain amount of viewership and if they can somehow demonstrate that they get a certain number of subscribers based on that material, then that means value. I think that's the future and it just sort of is what it is. I comfort myself with the idea that you can get a 60-inch TV now for $250, so people are definitely at least seeing it in greater detail, and even a little surround system isn’t that expensive. Now, I don’t particularly love the idea of putting all of the work that you put into a movie and then having somebody watch it on their iPhone; I feel like they’re just going to miss out on a lot. But, you know, sometimes the future makes up its own mind and you just have to go along with it."

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