Wednesday 23 October 2019

Merkel still believes that an orderly exit can be achieved


German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there's still a chance that Britain will make an "orderly exit" from the EU, but she is also prepared for a crash-out scenario.

It came as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned MEPs that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit remained "very real".

The remarks by Ms Merkel and Mr Juncker came after the pair had separate contacts with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in recent days.

Mr Juncker said he told Mr Johnson he had "no emotional attachment" to the backstop to avoid a hard Border in Ireland.

But he added: "I stated that I stand by the objectives that it is designed to achieve. That is why I called on the prime minister to come forward with operational proposals, in writing, for practical steps which would allow us to achieve those objectives. Until such time as those proposals have been presented I will not be able to tell you, looking you straight in the eye, that any real progress has been achieved."

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage claimed it was clear from the "emollient" comments by Mr Juncker that they were "very close" to a deal at the EU summit next month. He argued such an agreement would be bad for the UK.

The European Parliament later voted overwhelmingly for another Brexit delay if the UK requests one and meets certain conditions. These include only supporting an extension if it was justified by circumstances like avoiding a no-deal departure or if there was a general election or referendum in the UK.

Irish Independent

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