Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator, has advised MEPs that the Brexit state of affairs is “severe and unsure” and he’s nonetheless ready to see complete proposals from the UK to keep away from a tough Irish border.
However there’s a rising perception in Brussels and Westminster that Mr Johnson now accepts the necessity for a withdrawal settlement after the UK parliament handed a regulation requiring him to hunt a Brexit delay if no deal is finalised at an EU summit on October 17-18.
The prime minister’s allies mentioned new proposals had been being drawn up, however may not be revealed till early October, after the annual convention of the ruling Conservative occasion.
These proposals are anticipated to deal with an alternative choice to the so-called backstop, a provision in his predecessor Theresa Might’s withdrawal settlement with the EU that’s designed to keep away from a tough border between Northern Eire and the Irish Republic.
Mr Johnson insists the “undemocratic” backstop should be faraway from the settlement, as a result of it may tie the UK into shut ties with the EU in perpetuity.
We’ll see within the coming weeks if the British are able to make concrete written proposals that are legally operational
After weeks of speaking up the specter of a no-deal Brexit on October 31, Mr Johnson’s language has shifted in latest days in favour of an settlement — with allies saying the prime minister is heading for a showdown with Eurosceptic Conservative MPs.
However to date Mr Johnson has failed to supply options to the Irish backstop, resulting in pessimism in Brussels about whether or not the prime minister is credible.
“We’ll see within the coming weeks if the British are able to make concrete written proposals that are legally operational,” Mr Barnier advised European Parliament leaders, in accordance a abstract of his remarks.
“The chance of a no-deal has not been eradicated,” he added, saying that the Brexit state of affairs “stays severe and unsure”.
The prime minister’s allies mentioned he would make detailed proposals to keep away from a tough Irish border quickly. “He’ll transfer within the final week of September or straight after the Tory convention,” mentioned one.
Thus far Mr Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost — who resumes talks with EU diplomats on Friday — has given solely hints of a complete British provide.
Mr Johnson mentioned on Monday he was prepared to see agriculture and meals handled as a part of an “all-Eire financial system” based mostly on EU guidelines after Brexit, in a transfer geared toward guaranteeing no well being checks on produce passing over the border between Northern Eire and the Republic.
EU officers complain that these British proposals on aligning meals security requirements, and others utilizing expertise to clean customs procedures, are insufficient.
Thursday, 12 September, 2019
MEPs are set to vote subsequent week on a decision that warns a no-deal Brexit “could be totally the accountability of the UK authorities”.
Simon Coveney, Eire’s international minister, mentioned to date Britain had provided “nothing that comes shut” to resolving the Irish border difficulty, however added the EU would reply positively to new proposals that labored.
“Let’s wait and see what the British authorities brings ahead,” he mentioned.
At Westminster some Tory MPs imagine Mr Johnson now acknowledges that a Brexit deal is the most effective route out of his political predicament, after parliament rejected his name for a snap election when it handed the regulation to attempt to stop the UK crashing out of the EU on October 31.
David Lidington, Mrs Might’s former deputy, mentioned: “I believe he genuinely desires a deal and what I might encourage him to do is to place all his energies within the subsequent few weeks — earlier than parliament comes again — to negotiating with the EU . . . to show that ambition right into a authorized actuality.”
There may be additionally a perception in Tory circles that Northern Eire’s Democratic Unionist occasion, which may face electoral catastrophe within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit, is beginning to present extra flexibility on the backstop.
The DUP strongly opposed Mrs Might’s withdrawal settlement due to how the backstop would deal with Northern Eire in a different way to mainland Britain.
The backstop envisaged a “short-term” customs union between the UK and the EU, however Northern Eire would additionally abide by a few of the bloc’s single market guidelines, not like mainland Britain.
The DUP, the Conservatives’ parliamentary ally, is beneath stress from native enterprise leaders to drop its hardline opposition to the backstop and to contemplate the EU’s earlier proposal for a Northern Eire-only model.
Mr Johnson has promised Arlene Foster, DUP chief, that he wouldn’t again such an association, which might preserve Northern Eire within the EU customs union and single market however not mainland Britain.