Published: Wed, August 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

EU rejects Britain's plea to reopen Brexit divorce deal

EU rejects Britain's plea to reopen Brexit divorce deal

Johnson's proposal comes after he wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk this week to insist that the Northern Ireland backstop must be removed from the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

"Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border".

In the flat refusal, Mr Tusk accused Johnson of having no new ideas and even supporting a hard border in the island of Ireland, something the British government specifically opposes, and has recently said it would not do.

Mr Coveney said: "There is a outcome to the approach that the British Government is taking and that effect is that they are making a no-deal far more likely".

Johnson said the backstop also threatens the peace process in Northern Ireland because it would give control of large parts of the economic and commercial life of the province to an external body, thus "weakening the delicate balance" between rival factions.

In a diplomatic note obtained by the Associated Press, the European Union slammed Johnson's proposal saying the "letter's suggestion that two separate legal, political, economic, and monetary jurisdictions already exist on the island [of Ireland] and can be managed with an open border is misleading".

Mr Coveney met Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith on Tuesday about Brexit and the lack of government in Northern Ireland since January 2017.

Tory former minister Ed Vaizey suggested Mr Johnson was "just going through the motions" with his Europe trip this week and was "hell-bent on getting no-deal".

Speaking alongside Merkel before the two leaders held talks, Johnson acknowledged that the onus was on Britain to put forward proposals that would satisfy both sides.

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Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, whose ten MPs give Johnson his one seat working majority in the House of Commons, issued a statement commenting that Ireland and the European Union would have to "face the reality that the backstop is not the way forward".

He also argued that the backstop risked weakening the delicate balance between pro-Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists embodied by the Good Friday agreement.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks as he meets with health professionals during his visit to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, Britain.

The backstop means that the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland remains in the customs union with the EU, which means that it can not conclude its own trade agreements.

In substance, Johnson's letter did not address the practicalities of how the Single Market was to impose its external tariffs and standards after the United Kingdom leaves on October 31, hinting however that in the absence of the Irish backstop the agreement negotiated with Theresa May could potentially be salvaged. "By contrast, it is the European Union who now claim that the single market and the plurality of the single market require them to have such checks".

The minister managing "no-deal" preparations, Michael Gove, challenged the documents' catastrophic predictions, saying they set out a "worst-case scenario" and plans for Brexit have been accelerated since Johnson's installment.

The bloc has repeatedly refused to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes a protocol on the Irish border "backstop" that then-prime minister Theresa May agreed in November. It may be that for now, they stick with the mantra, rien ne va plus, and they can't change a jot or a title of the Withdrawal Agreement'.

"Today's meeting, along with tomorrow's meeting with France's President Macron may provide a guide to whether there is potential for avoiding a "no deal" Brexit, ahead of the G7 meetings this weekend".

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