EU chief issues stark warning to UK over Brexit delay that will infuriate Brexiteers
Oct. 09, 2019
EUROPEAN Parliament Vice President Katarina Barley discussed the prospect of the EU granting a Brexit extension and the consequences of a no deal exit.
Angela Merkel said during a phone call with Boris Johnson yesterday that unless Northern Ireland was left behind in a customs union then a deal is “overwhelmingly unlikely”, according to a briefing from Number 10 sources. European Parliament Vice President Katarina Barley claimed there is a “vast majority” in EU Parliament for a Brexit extension, warning it is “not over until it’s over”. She told Channel 4 News: “It’s not over until it’s over. We all believe that a hard Brexit is the worst of all solutions and I think most people in the UK do too.
“If by October 31 we don’t have a solution, it’s going to be a hard Brexit, so be it. But until the we’re all gong to work for a better solution.”
Presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked: “You said if there isn’t a deal by the end of October then it’s no deal.
“In fact, if there isn’t a deal by the end of October British law says that we must ask for an extension. Do you think there’s any doubt that that extension would be granted?”
Ms Barley responded: “The European Parliament definitely would. I think there is a vast majority here for an extension.
“But we do need some path where this should go further because we have to explain it to our citizens too, why we grant extension after extension.”
Mr Guru-Murthy questioned: “And do any of you think Boris Johnson is sincere in seeking a deal or do you think he’s pretending?”
She responded: “To be very honest, the whole Brexit matter from the very beginning on has served internal political issues, beginning from David Cameron and now ending with Boris Johnson, hopefully ending with Boris Johnson.
“So my perception, it’s always more about themselves, these leaders themselves - about their political future. About their political party than about the matter.
“The relationship between the UK and the European Union, and that is what is really the problem I think.”
Downing Street said it was clear that the EU had adopted a new stance on Brexit.
A Downing Street source said: “The call with Merkel showed the EU has adopted a new position. She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the customs union. Merkel said that if Germany wanted to leave the EU they could do it no problem but the UK cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in the customs union and in full alignment forever."
On Tuesday night, Downing Street said the EU now had 24 hours to find a compromise, otherwise, the negotiations between Mr Johnson and the EU would collapse for good.
The No 10 source added: “Ms Merkel said that Ireland is the government’s special problem and Ireland must at least have a veto on Northern Ireland leaving. Merkel said that the Prime Minister should tell northern Ireland that it must stay in full alignment forever, but that even this would not eliminate customs issues.
“It was a very useful clarifying moment in al sorts of ways. If this represents a new established position, then it means a deal is essentially impossible, not just now but forever. It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday Agreement.”
The European Parliament President David Sassoli met with the Prime Minister on Tuesday and said the UK had two options: “extension or no deal”.
He also said that there had been no negotiations and that if the UK opted to leave the EU without a deal, then the responsibility would fall on the Government.
He added that extended the Brexit deal could only be granted with a “good reason”.
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