Brexit: EU ready to discuss with London, waiting for proposals

EU members are ready to talk with London to avoid a divorce without an agreement on 31 October and are awaiting proposals, several foreign ministers said Friday after talks with their British counterpart in Helsinki.
“For the moment, nothing credible came from the British government in the context of an alternative backstop,” lamented Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on his arrival for the second day of an informal meeting.

“We are waiting for the proposals that will come from London. I once again made it clear that it is now necessary, for reasons of time, to put them on the table as soon as possible, “said the German Minister Heiko Maas.

“We can not imagine that the [divorce] agreement can be reopened,” he warned.

Ministers met face-to-face with their British counterpart Dominic Raab on the sidelines of the meeting and many said they were “disappointed” by the British position.

“The British are not ready for a no- one ,” assured a European diplomat, confident in an evolution of the British position.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses the backstop . He denounces as “undemocratic” this device which provides that the entire United Kingdom remains in a “single customs territory” with the EU in order to keep the border open between Ireland and the British territory of Northern Ireland, the time to agree on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

Boris Johnson asked that European and British negotiators meet twice a week in September to try to get along.

“The solution must be based on the withdrawal agreement and be in accordance with this agreement [negotiated and accepted by Theresa May],” the Irish minister insisted.

“If the UK wants to remove an element of the opt-out agreement, it has to come up with alternatives. We have always said that if there are backstop alternatives that do the same job, let’s listen to them and if we can come to an agreement on that basis, so much the better, “he said.

“The withdrawal agreement must remain as it is”, for its part insisted his Dutch counterpart Stephanus Blok. “We are eager to hear the British proposals,” he added.

“We have a document that has been approved at European level and that was signed with Theresa May at the time. It sets the framework very well and we will not move much to this document, “confirmed the Belgian Didier Reynders.

“I am worried,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said. “For me, a no deal is a disaster for one and all. It can cost thousands and thousands of jobs and create misery unnecessarily, “he said.

“Everything is possible if we want to avoid a no deal . If it is necessary to extend (the date of exit) to arrive at a result, I agree. But if you extend to extend, it’s difficult, “he warned.

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