Emmanuel Macron puts the EU and the UK on a collision course of Brexit
Emmanuel Macron put Britain and the EU on a collision course today because he insisted that the Irish backstop & # 39; indispensable & # 39; while Boris Johnson warned the French president that the UK will leave the block with or without a deal on October 31.
The couple met for lunch in Paris for confrontation talks after Angela Merkel told Johnson yesterday in Berlin that the United Kingdom had 30 days to come up with alternatives to the border protocol.
But while Mr Macron hinted that he was open to see what the UK could come up with during that period, he said: & # 39; we must respect what was negotiated before & # 39; and any changes should be made in the context of the existing deal.
Macron said: & # 39; My position has always been to respect the sovereign choice of the British people.
& # 39; I regret it, but I respect democracy. The most important elements of the withdrawal agreement – including the backstop – are not only technical, they are indispensable guarantees. & # 39;
Johnson insisted that he prefer an agreement between the EU and the UK, but he made it clear that he is prepared to leave the block without an agreement.
"We have to come out of the EU on October 31 – deal or No Deal," he said.
Macron had paved the way for an icy meeting between the couple after he told reporters yesterday that renegotiating the withdrawal agreement with Theresa May isn't an option that exists.
He also focused on the idea that a post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and the US would be sufficient to compensate for the damage to the UK economy through a No Deal Brexit.
The combination of Mr Macron's comments with those of Mrs Merkel suggests that a deal between Great Britain and Brussels is still far away.
The EU will be very skeptical that the UK will be able to come up with alternatives for the backstop that are strong enough to abolish the insurance policy that was designed to ensure that there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland in the UK. no agreement is reached on future trading conditions.
Emmanuel Macron welcomed Boris Johnson during lunch in the French capital for a confrontation with Brexit conversations
The two spoke to the media for a working lunch. Macron seemed to exclude exclusion from the backstop because he considered it to be & # 39; indispensable & # 39; described
Johnson urged Mr Macron to listen to Angela Merkel's comments last night after saying that the UK had 30 days to offer an alternative to the backstop
Johnson has vowed to take the UK out of the EU & # 39; do or die & # 39; by October 31 and with or without a deal.
He said that the UK will never agree to a deal with the EU that includes the backstop that he & # 39; anti-democratic & # 39; has described.
But the road to a deal seemed to be difficult today, when Mr. Macron carefully hit the road ahead.
He said he was open to a & # 39; useful & # 39; month of discussions between the two parties, but insisted that new ideas should be compatible with the framework of the existing divorce agreement.
He said: & # 39; What Angela Merkel said yesterday and what fits well with the discussions we had from the very beginning, is that we need visibility within 30 days.
& # 39; I believe this also matches Prime Minister Johnson's goal. No one will wait until October 31 to find the right solution. & # 39;
He said that the EU's most important Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, could be involved in finding an answer & # 39; without completely reshuffling the withdrawal agreement & # 39 ;.
& # 39; We should all be able to find something smart together within 30 days if there is goodwill on both sides, & # 39; Macron said.
Macron said the & # 39; two goals & # 39; that the EU has behind the ground is maintaining the integrity of the EU internal market and maintaining the Good Friday agreement.
He added: & # 39; The Irish backlog, as we call it, is a point that has been negotiated in the context of the geographical location of Ireland and the political situation in the past.
& # 39; It is therefore an important element with which we can first of all guarantee stability in Ireland and also the integrity of the internal market. These are our two goals.
& # 39; If you are talking about flexibility, let me be very clear with you, these two goals must be achieved.
& # 39; We must therefore find a solution that guarantees the integrity of the internal market.
& # 39; We must be able to guarantee companies, citizens and consumers in Europe that comply with European Union rules and that everything that comes from a market that is not in the European Union is controlled. & # 39;
Johnson said: & I want to make it absolutely clear to you Emmanuel – to the French people – that I naturally want a deal.
& # 39; I think we can get a deal and a good deal. I was strongly encouraged by our conversations last night in Berlin with our mutual friends.
& # 39; I know that with energy and creativity and application we can find a way forward for all our companies and our citizens.
& # 39; But as you have just said yourself, Emanuel, it is vital for confidence in politics that if you have a referendum, you must act according to the voters' instructions and that is why we at 31 come from the EU in October – deal or no deal. & # 39;
Johnson told Mr. Macron before they entered the Elysee Palace in Palace: & I think we can get a deal for a good deal.
Johnson emphasized that he preferred a deal with the EU, but he warned French President & # 39; we must come from the EU on October 31 – deal or No Deal & # 39;
Mrs. Johnson is now facing a race against the clock to come up with useful and practical alternatives to the backstop
The French President spoke with journalists for two and a half hours yesterday and set out his opposition to the reopening of the withdrawal agreement.
Macron said to them: & # 39; Re-negotiating the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists and that has always been made clear by President (Donald) Tusk. & # 39;
Macron also referred to the idea that a US trade agreement could save the UK in the event of a No Deal split and suggested that an agreement with Mr. Trump would humiliate Britain.
He said: & # 39; Can (the costs of a hard Brexit) be compensated by the United States of America? No. And even if it were a strategic choice, it would be at the expense of a historic vassalization of Britain.
& # 39; I don't think this is what Boris Johnson wants. I don't think that's what the British people want.
& # 39; The British are attached to a great power, a member of the Security Council.
& # 39; It can't be like leaving Europe and saying & # 39; we will be stronger & # 39; before we eventually become the junior partner of the United States, who increasingly act hegemonistically. & # 39;
The difficulty Mr Johnson faced today in Paris was also illustrated by comments from a French presidential assistant who said yesterday that No Deal was now seen as the most likely outcome.
The assistant also urged the UK to pay all £ 39 billion Brexit divorce invoices, even if it leaves the block without an agreement.
& # 39; The most likely scenario is that of No Deal & # 39 ;, the official said.
& # 39; The idea to say & # 39; there is no deal, so I don't pay & # 39; does not work. We cannot imagine that a country like the UK would withdraw from an international commitment. "
The official added: & # 39; There is no magic wand to make this bill disappear. & # 39;
Johnson, pictured yesterday next to Mrs. Merkel in Berlin, received an unexpected boost after the German Chancellor suggested she was open to listening to backstop alternatives
Mrs Merkel said she hoped that a deal could be made, but insisted that Germany be ready for No Deal
Johnson welcomed her 30-day schedule when he told the German Chancellor: & # 39; I'm more than happy with that & # 39;
Mrs Merkel raised hope for a Brexit resolution last night, while addressing Mr Johnson in Berlin for a working dinner.
She said the backstop always had a & # 39; fallback position & # 39; and would only come into effect if no other solution could be agreed that would have the & # 39; integrity of the internal market & # 39; would protect.
But then she added: & # 39; If anyone can solve this riddle, if we find this solution, then we said we would probably find it in the next two years, but maybe we can do it in the next 30 days find.
& # 39; Then we are one step further in the right direction and naturally we must do everything we can to do this. & # 39;
What is the Irish backstop and why is it so divided?
The so-called Irish border stop is one of the most controversial elements of the existing Brexit deal. This is what it means:
What is the backstop?
The backstop was invented to deliver on promises to keep the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland open, even if there is no comprehensive trade agreement between the UK and the EU.
The divorce agreement states that it will start automatically at the end of the transitional period of the Brexit if that agreement is not concluded.
It effectively keeps the UK in a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland in both the customs union and the internal market.
This means that many EU laws continue to impose the UK, limiting its ability to enter into its own trade agreements. It also means legal controls of some goods crossing the Irish Sea.
Why did Ireland and the EU demand this?
As the UK left the customs union and the internal market, the EU said it needed guarantees that people and goods circulating within its border – in this case in Ireland – complied with its rules.
This is covered by the Brexit transition, which effectively maintains the status quo, and can in theory be done in the extended trade agreement between the EU and the UK.
But the EU said there had to be a backstop to cover what happens in every gap between the transition and the final deal.
Why do critics hate it?
Because Britain cannot decide when to leave the backstop.
Getting out – even if there is a trade agreement – can only happen if both parties agree and Brexiteers fear that the EU will unreasonably demand that the backstop continue to exist, so that EU legislation will continue to apply in Northern Ireland.
MPs from Northern Ireland also hate the legal border in the Irish Sea and insist that the UK be unreasonably divided.
Johnson said it is our job to produce solutions for the Northern Ireland border issue and he welcomed the & # 39; blank 30-day timetable & # 39; that Mrs. Merkel has suggested coming up with the answers.
He added: & I think we should remove the whole and the whole – the backstop – and then, as Chancellor Merkel says, work on the alternative arrangements.
& # 39; There are abundant solutions being offered that have already been discussed. I think, to be honest, they have been very actively proposed by the British government so far over the past three years.
& # 39; You (Mrs Merkel) are right to say that it is up to us to produce those solutions, those ideas, to show how we can tackle the issue of the Northern Irish border and that is what we want to do.
& # 39; I must say that I am very happy to listen to you tonight Angela to hear that the conversations that are going now can finally begin.
& # 39; You have set a very harrowing 30-day timetable – if I understand you correctly, I am more than happy with that. & # 39;
Mrs Merkel said that she wanted to continue to maintain very close relations between the UK and the EU & # 39; after Britain left the block and she preferred a deal that would be closed before October 31.
But about the prospect of a No Deal split, she said: & # 39; We are ready.
Despite the boost, Number 10 cautiously greeted Mrs. Merkel's words with an officer who told Politico: & # 39; Whitehall has had far too much hope on Merkel for ten years and we have no illusions. & # 39;
Norbert Rottgen, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament, responded to Mrs Merkel's timetable by saying that the & # 39; not realistic & # 39; was to expect that an alternative solution for the backstop would be found in the coming 30 days.
He told Channel 4: & # 39; I can only say the reality that so far and for years no one has found a solution so far.
& # 39; I think we can realistically expect this mechanism to be found in a year, two years or three years, but I think it is not realistic to expect that it will be found in the next 30 days, which is not has been found in the last 30 days for three years. & # 39;
Johnson had used his opening remarks to initially charm Mrs. Merkel because he said it was & # 39; obvious & # 39; was that his first trip to Germany as a prime minister should be.
But he then struck a loud tone because he said he & # 39; absolutely clear & # 39; wanted to be on what needed to be done to enable the UK and the EU to conclude an agreement.
He said: & We in the UK want a deal. We are looking for a deal and I believe we can get one.
& # 39; But it is clear that we cannot accept the current withdrawal agreement, arrangements that divide the UK or lock us up in EU regulatory and trade regimes, without the UK controlling it.
& # 39; We must remove that backstop. If we can, I am absolutely certain that we can continue together. & # 39;
Despite Ms Merkel's comments on the backstop, she maintained that it would still be like a block for the EU to negotiate the way forward from a & # 39; uniform, consistent position & # 39 ;.
While Ms Merkel and Mr Macron seemed to take different positions on whether the backstop could be changed, the EU and the UK became embroiled in a fight.
Jeremy Corbyn, shown on Tuesday in Stevenage, has invited senior MPs to anti-No Deal talks on 27 August
Phil Hogan, the Irish EU Commissioner, reportedly hurled Johnson as a & # 39; non-elected prime minister & # 39; and claimed that the prime minister was nothing of his political hero Winston Churchill.
He was quoted in the Times because he said Johnson himself as a & # 39; modern Churchill & # 39; considered, but & # 39; in the case of a No Deal Brexit, the only Churchillian legacy of the British government will be: never have so few people done so much damage to so much & # 39 ;.
A source from the British government hit back and said, “Intentional personal attacks like this are just the kind of negotiating team that prevented a deal from being made the last time.
& # 39; The committee should stop playing these types of games and instead work on changes that make a deal possible. & # 39;
It came when Jeremy Corbyn made a new move to try to merge an anti-No Deal coalition in the Lower House.
The Labor leader wrote to all MPs from all parties yesterday afternoon to invite them to sit with him next Tuesday.
He said in the letter: “The chaos and disruption of the Borx Johnson Brexit deal is real and threatening, since the government-leaked Operation Yellowhammer file is crystal clear. That is why we must do everything we can to stop it. & # 39;
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