President vs President: Tusk Contradicts Juncker, Says Brexit Delay Could Happen


European Council president Donald Tusk has contradicted European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, saying Brexit could be delayed yet again.

President Juncker, the outgoing chief of the European Union’s powerful unelected executive, had said the revised version of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement offered to Boris Johnson was a final offer, and that if British MPs did not accept it there would be no further “prolongation” of the Brexit saga.

As Breitbart News reported on October 17th, however, the decision to grant or reject another extension of to the Article 50 negotiations — which Boris Johnson may be forced to ask for as a result of legislation passed by anti-Brexit MPs — is not taken by the European Commission, but by the European Council, comprised of the executive heads of state and government of the EU’s 28 member-states (minus the United Kingdom, in the context of the Brexit talks).

And Donald Tusk, who abandoned his former office as Prime Minister of Poland to take up the much-better paid role of President of the European Council just weeks before his party was swept out of office at home, has said he will not rule out an extension — which would be the third delay to Brexit, which was supposed to take place at the end of March 2019.

“On a personal note, what I feel today is sadness,” added the 62-year-old. “In my heart I’ll always be a Remainer. I hope if our British friends decide to return one day, our door will always be open.”

President Juncker went even further, remarking that he “would like to say to the 48 per cent [of British voters who backed Remain] that they were right” in a characteristically antagonistic fashion.

“I am happy and relieved that we reached a deal but I am sad because Brexit is happening,” he added.

Tory Brexiteers in Parliament appear to be rowing in behind the new deal, despite the EU having made it clear that, excepting the contentious backstop arrangements for Northern Ireland, it leaves the terms of Theresa May’s deal “unchanged in substance”.

As regards Northern Ireland, the British province’s Brexit-supporting Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the Tories rely on for a parliamentary majority, say the changes to the deal are not sufficient for them to support it.

Johnson’s version of the deal improves on the backstop insofar as it asserts Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom customs union, but undermines this by adding that trade between mainland Great Britain and the province will be subject to customs checks — one of the defining characteristics of not being in a customs union. ]

Northern Ireland will also be obliged to adopt the regulatory rules of the EU Single Market, which could result in major divergence between the province and the rest of the United Kingdom over the longer term.

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