Europeans Reject Boris’s Politically ‘Unacceptable’ Final Brexit Offer

A mural by British artist Banksy, depicting a workman chipping away at one of the stars on a European Union (EU) themed flag, is pictured in Dover, south east England on January 7, 2019. - Britain's battle over Brexit resumes Monday when parliament returns from its Christmas break to debate …
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Europeans have provisionally rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “take it or leave it” final Brexit deal.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost arrived in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon to deliver to the EU Brexit proposals that aim to remove the Irish backstop.

The plans would leave Northern Ireland in a ‘special relationship’ with the EU until 2025. Northern Ireland would leave the Customs Union with the rest of the UK at the end of the transition period but will stay in the Single Market for at least four years, meaning there would be a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the Irish Sea. After that time, the Northern Irish Assembly will choose whether to remain aligned to the EU follow the rest of the UK.

A senior government source told the Daily Mail: “It is take it or leave it. Officials have made clear that if Brussels does not engage with this offer, then this Government will not negotiate further until we have left the EU. Officials also made clear the Prime Minister will in no circumstances negotiate a delay at the EU Council on October 17.”

The Times reports that many leaders and Eurocrats have seen leaked versions of the offer and have already ruled out the proposals as practically “unworkable” and politically “unacceptable”.

A senior EU source said: “This cannot be his last plan.”

“It is unworkable to dissociate customs from the regulatory regime. There is no point in even considering a time limit on something that is unworkable,” they told the newspaper.

Another senior European official said: “If this is the final offer, then it is no deal.”

The attitude of European leaders publicly rejecting British approaches for a renegotiation of terms out of hand before the suggestion has even been officially made is one with a long tradition in Brexit negotiations, with the message given to journalists persistently being that there can be no change, and that the deal given to Theresa May is the only one going.

Speaking Wednesday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the new UK proposals did not “look like the basis for an agreement”.

“A proposal that involves customs checks on the island of Ireland in itself is bad faith given the commitments the British government has given both to Ireland and the EU over the last three years,” Mr Coveney added.

While Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “…certainly what we are hearing is not encouraging and would not be the basis for an agreement, sadly, in my view”. The Irish prime minister said that he would call Prime Minister Johnson later on Wednesday evening.

Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to speak to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel today before speaking with Prime Minister Johnson. EU sources told The Telegraph there was no indication that Mrs Merkel was prepared to support a plan that interferes with the integrity of the Single Market.

Another senior EU diplomat accused Mr Johnson of “kamikaze” tactics in offering a deal that EU leaders would never accept.

Mr Johnson had pledged to take the UK out of the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal. However, the Remainer-dominated parliament passed a law stopping a no-deal exit by forcing the prime minister to ask for another Brexit extension.

While Number 10 is obliged to ask the EU for an extension, reports have suggested that there are loopholes the Brexit-supporting government can exploit to deliver Brexit as promised by the deadline. Reports earlier this week revealed the prime minister might ask European leaders to veto an extension of Article 50.

A senior government official said: “The government is either going to be negotiating a new deal or working on no deal — nobody will work on delay.”


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