Friday 20 September 2019

'UK hasn't proposed any legally credible or workable backstop alternatives' - Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar. Picture: AFP/Reuters
Michel Barnier and Leo Varadkar. Picture: AFP/Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator said the bloc is still waiting for proposals from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the impasse over Britain's departure, which is due at the end of next month.

Michel Barnier told reporters that "we are still ready to examine objectively any concrete and legally operational proposals from the UK".

Mr Johnson's envoy David Frost has been holding talks in Brussels this week but no breakthrough has been made.

Mr Johnson wants the backstop removed from a legally-binding Brexit agreement sealed by his predecessor.

The EU insists the so-called backstop must stay in so that goods can flow smoothly between member country Ireland and Northern Ireland when it leaves along with the rest of the UK.

European Parliament President David Sassoli said the UK has made no new proposals that would unblock Brexit talks and that talking about removing the so-called backstop from the divorce agreement is a waste of time.

Mr Sassoli told reporters: "The UK hasn't proposed any alternatives, and anything that's been legally credible and workable."

Speaking after talks with Mr Barnier, Mr Sassoli said: "Unfortunately, the signals that we're getting aren't indicating that there's any initiative that could reopen the negotiations."

PA Media

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