Submit New Plan or ‘It’s Over’: EU Talks Tough But Still Open to ANOTHER Extension

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne as they give a joint press conference following their meeting at the Elysee presidential palace on September 18, 2019, in Paris. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

France and Finland have told the UK that talks will be “over” and the UK should prepare for no deal unless Boris Johnson submits alternatives to the withdrawal treaty — despite the European Parliament indicating they are willing to support yet another Brexit delay.

Finland’s Prime Minister Antti Rinne said he and France’s President Emmanuel Macron agreed on Wednesday that “if the UK wants to discuss alternatives to the existing Brexit agreement then these must be presented before the end of the month.”

“If not by then, then it’s over,” Mr Rinne told reporters.

Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the EU’s other 25 Member States will have to agree to this new deadline, the original agreed as the 17th of October, the date of the European Summit.

The two European leaders back the shorter proposal so as to prepare the bloc for the UK’s exit on October 31st, with the Finnish prime minister adding in comments reported by The Sun: “We need to know what the UK is proposing. Loose talk about proposals for negotiations is irresponsible.

“We are both concerned about what is happening in Britain right now and the confusion that is spreading out from there to Europe.”

Speaking during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, outgoing President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that “the risk of a no-deal is palpable”.

Mr Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal, and has been attempting to renegotiate the exit treaty to remove the Irish backstop, which could lock the UK in regulatory alignment with the EU after Brexit.

While Remainers in the House of Commons have passed a law forcing Prime Minister Johnson to ask another extension of Article 50 should a new treaty not be agreed, it may turn out that the Europeans block any further Brexit delays and force a clean exit on Halloween.

In order for another extension of Article 50 to be granted, leaders of all 27 remaining EU countries would have to agree; however, some months ago Macron had said that he wants the UK out of the EU to stop the Brexit issue “polluting” the Brussels agenda, saying October 31st was the “final, final deadline”.

Earlier this month, Eurocrats said that a no deal Brexit has “never been closer” with one complaining of Brexit Fatigue, wishing the process would be over. However, the Europeans have talked tough before, signalling their preparedness to cut the UK off from the EU, before granting one Brexit extension in April and then another to October.

While the French and Finnish were calling time on Brexit talks, Members of the European Parliament voted yesterday to continue to support the EU’s position of backing an “orderly Brexit” — an exit with an EU treaty.

The parliament agreed that Members are “open to a possible extension of the Article 50 negotiation period” if the UK requests it, on grounds including to hold “general elections or a referendum”, cancelling Brexit by “revoking Article 50”, approving the withdrawal treaty, and even simply to stop “a ‘no-deal’ departure”.

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