Published: Wed, October 09, 2019
Economy | By

European Union brands Brexit deal 'essentially impossible'

European Union brands Brexit deal 'essentially impossible'

Mrs Merkel said a deal was impossible unless Northern Ireland remained permanently in a customs union, Downing Street sources said.

"If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever", the Downing Street source said. The source added that those who hoped that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would help London were "deluded".

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom as well as the security and interests of our people".

The EU chief went on: "There are two alternatives to a deal at this juncture: extension or no deal".

Meanwhile, Merkel is meeting European Parliament President David Sassoli and President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing negotiations.

No 10 has insisted Mr Johnson will comply with the law, but Laura Kuenssberg says there are still conversations going on in Downing Street about writing a second letter, making the case that a delay is unnecessary.

Speaking at a regular press briefing, the spokesperson said the European Union position "has not changed: we are working for a deal" and added that as technical talks continue today she does not see "how the talks could have broken down". Plus, it's in their interest to make sure that the checks necessary once the United Kingdom goes its own way on trade deals are firmly in place rather than scattered in warehouses throughout not just the Six Counties but also throughout Ireland too - and Varadkar doesn't want to get stuck holding the bag for being the UK's customs enforcer.

A similar court action failed on Monday, after the government last week provided legal assurances that it would comply with the law and make the request - despite statements to the media and on social media, including by Johnson himself, suggesting that they would not.

But should a delay still be granted at the European Union summit, Johnson will campaign for a "no-deal" in any snap election, the Downing Street source told The Spectator.

The British pound fell to a three-week low against the euro on Tuesday amid concerns a deal could not be struck before the October deadline.

"Boris Johnson, what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game", he wrote on Twitter.

The opposition Labour Party said Mr Johnson was trying to avoid taking responsibility for the failure of the negotiating process. Johnson responded by saying that condition, together with the EU's unwillingness to engage with his latest proposals, paved the way to a no-deal Brexit.

Describing the reports of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar being totally inflexible over the backstop as "misinformation", Coveney said at a press conference in Dublin: "No country wants a deal more than Ireland but we will not strike a deal at any cost".

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a new rebellion from his cabinet over concerns of a no-deal Brexit, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday. Britain is set to leave the European Union on October 31, although Parliament recently passed a law requiring Mr. Johnson to seek a three-month extension if he hasn't reached an agreement by October 19. He has also repeatedly demanded an election but parliament has refused to grant one.

The Downing Street official quoted Merkel as saying that a deal now looked "overwhelmingly unlikely", and added that the Brexit talks were "close to breaking down".

"Supporting delay will be seen by this Government as hostile interference in domestic politics, and over half of the public will agree with us".

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