EU Officials Say No Brexit Deal In Sight

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The president of the European Union (EU) and the EU's top official in charge of Brexit negotiations both say there's no apparent path forward to avoid a hard, no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to the British press, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he's "convinced" that a hard Brexit will happen and that a hard border will return to Ireland because Prime Minister Boris Johnson has no plan to avoid a hard border.

"I'm convinced that Brexit will happen," he told Sky News in an interview last week, before he had seen the ideas Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government sent to Brussels to try to push Brexit talks forward.

Asked whether there would be a new border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if there was a no-deal Brexit, Juncker said: "Yes ... We have to make sure that the interests of the European Union and of the internal market will be preserved."

At this late stage, the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier and other sources say Johnson still hasn't proposed a serious alternative to the so-called "backstop" that would prevent a hard border in Ireland.

EU sources said no proper alternative for the border between Northern Ireland, a British province, and Ireland that ensures the integrity of the EU single market and customs union has been proposed yet by London, so no breakthrough is on the cards. [...]

“Based on current UK thinking, it is difficult to see how we can arrive at a legally operative solution which fulfils all the objectives of the backstop. It is in a very sensitive and difficult phase,” [Barnier] said.

Boris Johnson and his supporters say the Irish border backstop must be removed because it would keep the United Kingdom wed to the European Union and bound by their rules for the forseeable future.

Boris Johnson says he will take Britain out of the European Union in a hard Brexit if he has to and a hard Brexit would lead to a hard border in Ireland.

Boris Johnson has not proposed an alternative to the Irish border backstop.

With all of these things considered, it's reasonable to infer that Johnson wants a hard border in Ireland, is it not? Why he or anyone else would want that I have no idea, but that's where things stand right now.

The only alternative explanation I can think of is that Johnson and his supporters really are so stupid as to believe the issue could have easily been resolved if former Prime Minister Theresa May had simply tried harder. That is to say they drank too much of their own Koolaid and they don't know what to do now that they're the ones in charge.

  • muselet

    Boris Johnson doesn’t give a monkey’s about the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, from what I’ve seen. His attitude is one of utter indifference.

    And yes, the Brexiteers really “are so stupid as to believe the issue could have easily been resolved if former Prime Minister Theresa May had simply tried harder.” They’re still expecting EU negotiators to fall to their knees and beg the UK not to go (in the immortal words of Shepherd Book, “Not gonna happen.”).

    I think the real reason for all of this is that Johnson and his supporters simply want the UK out of the EU, full stop, consequences be damned. Johnson isn’t negotiating in good faith because he doesn’t care about the outcome of negotiations. He’s always had an unthinking hatred of the EU, going back to his time at the Brussels Bureau of The Daily Telegraph (or, as it’s often called, The Torygraph), and has never felt any compunction about loudly lying in support of his viscerally Eurosceptic worldview.

    Boris Johnson is exactly the wrong person to be Prime Minister.


  • mnpollio

    I really do not think Johnson (or his Brexit enablers) give a crap. The whole purpose of this was to cause chaos, sow destruction, set things back generations and give Vlad Putin a woody. And I think we can all agree that they have succeeded on those dubious achievements.

  • It occurs to me that if we fulfilled some folks’ fantasy and let the Southern states, or red states like Wyoming secede, Brexit would look like child’s play.

  • Draxiar

    Maybe give Northern Ireland back to Ireland and avoid the whole border problem?