Alternative Brexit proposals will be given consideration - Phil Hogan
Ireland’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan has said that any alternative proposals from the UK on its future relationship with the EU will be given “appropriate consideration”.
Mr Hogan was speaking after he reiterated to UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay in a phone call on Monday that the current withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation.
The Agriculture Commissioner said the onus was on the UK to come up with alternative proposals if it continues to reject the current Brexit deal.
“If the UK government continues to reject the Withdrawal Agreement, it is now the responsibility of the UK government to come forward with proposals for the future EU-UK relationship,” Mr Hogan said in a statement to independent.ie
“The UK government can be assured that any such proposals will be given appropriate consideration by the EU.”
Mr Barclay said in a tweet on Monday evening that he had spoken with Mr Hogan by phone and “stressed that while we're ready to energetically enter into new negotiations in a spirit of friendship, the backstop must go”.
Mr Barclay, who was reappointed as Brexit Secretary by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month, reiterated the UK government’s position that it will leave with or without a deal on October 31.
The UK’s demand that the backstop, which ensures there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of the UK and the EU failing to negotiate a future free trade deal, be removed from the withdrawal deal has proven to be the main sticking point in the ongoing Brexit process.
Mr Hogan's office said that Mr Barclay confirmed the UK government’s commitment to securing a deal with the EU and to the Good Friday Agreement.
However, the UK cabinet minister also reminded the former Fine Gael TD that the withdrawal agreement had been rejected repeatedly by the House of Commons in votes earlier this year.