Angela Merkel’s backstop deadline 'changes nothing’

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Claude Moraes said German chancellor Angela Merkel’s 30-day deadline for Boris Johnson to provide an alternative to the Irish backstop does not mark a significant breakthrough in negotiations.

The Labour MEP told talkRADIO’s James Max that nothing had changed despite Mr Johnson saying he was “more than happy” with the 30-day cut-off as part of efforts to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

“Behind all the bluster and behind all the details, Britain has to come up with a proposal on the backstop if it wants change to the Withdrawal Agreement and we haven’t seen any substantial change,” he said.

“It didn’t appear that he [Boris Johnson] had a magic bullet or some kind of proposal, they’re still talking about those things that he was talking about when he was foreign secretary. So this is a very worrying situation.”

Mr Johnson will meet with French president Emmanuel Macron today in their first face-to-face meeting since he became Prime Minister.

He can expect a reception frostier than he received in Germany as Mr Macron has said that renegotiating the Brexit deal was “not an option”.

Mr Moraes said he believed Mr Johnson still hoped to make a deal, as “no deal is particularly bad for the UK”.

However he has questioned what the Prime Minister is capable of achieving before the October 31 Brexit deadline.

“Neither the EU nor the opposition parties believe that opening the Withdrawal Agreement is an option and there is a lot of suspicion that what the government is doing is pushing this to the point where no deal is inevitable,” he said.

“If he comes up with a proposal, of course we’ll back a good proposal but he hasn’t done that yet.”

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