Macron gives one-week Brexit deal deadline

Andrew Cummings
October 7, 2019

Number 10 warned Brussels that it would be an "historic misunderstanding" to believe the so-called Benn Act could prevent a no-deal Brexit - despite being created to do so.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne- whose country now holds the European Union's rotating presidency- said he had told Johnson it was "important to find a solution within a week" and the British leader "agreed with the timetable".

London/Brussels. Boris Johnson will attempt to save his Brexit plan this week after his French counterpart warned that the European Union would decide within days whether an agreement would be possible, London Evening Standard reported.

Arrangements for preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland continue to be a sticking point, with the European Union calling for "fundamental changes" to the UK's latest proposals. That meeting is scheduled for 17 and 18 October.

Macron, who has resisted a potential extension, told the British prime minister "negotiations should pursue quickly in the coming days" with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, his office said. Yet if he bends on them, Johnson risks losing tenuous support in the United Kingdom parliament to maybe pass a Brexit deal, reliant on 10 Democratic Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland and hard-core Brexit MPs in his Conservative Party.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted that he had told Mr Johnson "important questions remain about the British proposals" and "there is a lot of work to be done ahead" of the summit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the European Union on Monday that the Brexit ball was in its court and that the bloc should now urgently discuss in detail his proposal for breaking the deadlock ahead of Britain's scheduled departure on October 31.

Jane Foley, an analyst for Rabobank, said this week and next would be another "roller coaster" for the pound as it became clearer whether Britain and the European Union would reach a deal and whether Johnson would challenge the Benn Act.

But in a snub to David Frost, Boris Johnson's Europe advisor, the European Commission turned down the request, stating that EU member states had agreed the proposals "do not provide a basis for concluding an agreement".

It includes giving the Northern Irish Assembly the ability to review it ever four years, something that Brussels is against.

The EU must match the compromises made by Britain to secure a Brexit deal, Johnson's spokesman said on Monday.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has said this is because they suspect it will show that border infrastructure - which would be unacceptable under the Good Friday Agreement - will be unavoidable. "They should be under no illusions or misapprehensions", he added.

Finnish prime minister Antti Rinne told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany after speaking to the PM that Mr Johnson now understood "what a big mess this is". "There will be no more dither or delay. We are not going to do (extend) this every three months".

Mr Johnson did not explain how the government would comply with a law passed by MPs which forces the prime minister to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if no agreement has been made by 19 October.

Other reports by iNewsToday