gott strafe england, a fucking men

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EU rejects Boris Johnson request for Brexit deal without Irish backstop
Jon Stone, Independent, Sep 20 2019

The EU has rejected a request from the British government for a Brexit deal without a Irish backstop. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay on Thursday said the UK should be given until the end of 2020 to come up with a replacement for the policy, instead of the end of September deadline set by EU leaders. The minister travelled to Brussels on Friday to meet with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, but was told that the EU could not consider a deal without a backstop or replacement in. Following the meeting, the European Commission said:

Michel Barnier met Steve Barclay in Brussels today where they had a discussion on the state of play of the ongoing Brexit talks, both in relation to the backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship. Michel Barnier and Steve Barclay agreed that technical talks will continue. These talks deal with a first set of concepts, principles and ideas that the UK has put forward in talks with TF50. It is essential that there is a fully workable and legally operational solution included in the Withdrawal Agreement. We remain willing and open to examine any such proposals that meet all the objectives of the backstop.

Without a withdrawal agreement there will be no transition period, and the UK would leave without a deal at the end of October, barring a further extension. Mr Barclay said on Thursday ahead of the meeting with Mr Barnier that the EU insistence of a backstop or replacement for it “risks crystallising” and “undesirable result” this November. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Barclay told reporters:

I think there is still a lot of work to do but there is a common purpose to secure a deal. I think there is a recognition in the capitals, in the foreign ministers I’ve been speaking to that they want to see a no-deal avoided, they want the teams to reach a deal. There is a clear message from President Juncker and from the prime minister that a deal is doable. But at the same time there is significant work still to do but there is serious discussions that are taking place. We are moving forward with momentum, talks will continue next week between the technical teams and it’s important that we deliver a deal because that is in the interest of the UK and indeed in the interest of the EU as we move forward to a strong future relationship, which is where we all want to go.

This comes as Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney poured cold water over Boris Johnson’s tentative claims of progress, saying:

We are not close to a deal.

Fresh Brexit talks row as UK asks EU to keep its proposals secret
Daniel Boffey, Jennifer Rankin, Groan, Sep 20 2019

David Frost, time-waster in chief. Photo: François Lenoir/Reuters

Downing Street’s secrecy over its “underwhelming” Brexit proposals has caused a fresh rupture in the negotiations in Brussels. The row centres on a demand that the EU’s negotiating team treat a long-awaited cache of documents outlining the UK’s latest ideas as “Her Majesty’s government property”. The European commission team was told by Whitehall that the three “confidential” papers it had sent on Thursday evening should not be distributed to Brexit delegates representing the EU’s 27 other member states. Sources in Brussels said that in response the point was being made forcefully to the British negotiating team that all proposals would need to be made available for the EU’s capitals to analyse for talks to progress. There is despair in Brussels at the state of the talks, with the latest ideas seen as “more of the same” from Downing Street. The three so-called non-papers, which do not commit the government to a specific policy solution, raise suggestions which have been trawled over and rejected at an earlier stage in the two years of talks. They include the use of technology and ‘trusted trader’ schemes to facilitate customs checks away from the Irish border, and the joint surveillance of the market in manufactured goods to ensure sub-standard goods do not enter the single market. The one area of convergence is on the need for an all-Ireland sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) or agrifood zone. One of the UK’s paper opens discussions on its scope. Explaining to the EU27 the failure to provide copies of the papers to the member states’ representatives, the commission’s Brexit taskforce wrote in an email:

The UK labelled the documents as HMG property and requested us not to do any onward disclosure … We intend to discuss working methods with the UK in terms of transparency and sharing information.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has previously claimed that the government has been loth to share written proposals with the EU in case they are leaked and trashed in public. EU diplomats complain that it will be impossible for the negotiations to progress if the member states are unable to thoroughly analyse British plans for replacing the Irish backstop. Downing Street is refusing to commit to tabling any concrete solutions for replacing the backstop before a two-week deadline suggested by Macron and Rinne, to allow time for negotiations to bear fruit before a crunch summit on Oct 17. A Downing Street spox described it as “artificial” and said loftily:

We will table formal written solutions when we are ready.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today, Irish deputy PM Simon Coveney said the gap between the two negotiating positions was wide. He said:

Asking to remove a very significant section from the withdrawal agreement that solves many of the Irish issues without any serious proposals on how you solve these problems is not going to be the basis of an agreement.

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is visiting Brussels on Friday. His trip coincides with the end of the 30-day “blistering timetable” to break the Brexit deadlock declared by Johnson when he met Merkel in Berlin. Brussels insiders have always said there was never a 30-day deadline. One EU diplomat told the Guardian:

There’s only one real deadline, and that’s Oct 31 October. More worrying is that the last 30 days haven’t been put to any good use, nor were the last couple of months. It doesn’t bode well about the intentions of this government for the last 30-odd days. Is the UK really happy to leave Europe without a deal?

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