MADRID, Sep. 19 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Thursday that he believes an agreement with the United Kingdom is possible for Brexit, before adding that the 'backstop' could be replaced by other alternatives if there are guarantees that “it meet the objectives. ”
“I think we can have an agreement,” he said, in an interview with the British television network Sky News, although he did not want to comment on whether these possibilities currently exceed 50 percent.
“I am trying my best to reach an agreement, since I don't like the idea of a messy Brexit,” said Juncker, who has warned that a UK exit from the block without an agreement would have “catastrophic consequences” for both the country as for the European Union (EU). “It is better for the United Kingdom and the EU to have an agreement,” he stressed.
Thus, he said that his last meeting with Johnson was “quite positive” and has confirmed that he has received some “documents” with alternative proposals. “I have not had the opportunity to meditate, but I will do it tonight,” he said.
Juncker has also stated “not having an erotic relationship with the 'backstop'” on the border with Ireland and has argued that this tool “is not necessary if all objectives are met”.
“The 'backstop' was an instrument of guarantees,” he explained, before reiterating that these “alternative agreements” could replace this tool “if they allow the EU and the United Kingdom to fulfill the main objectives of the 'backstop'.”
Juncker has also said that the possible agreement will revolve around the idea that Northern Ireland follows European standards in food and agriculture, with controls outside the border.
“That is the basis of an agreement. It is the starting point and the arrival point,” he said, while expressing his assurance that Brexit will eventually occur. “Brexit will take place,” he has settled.
Juncker's words have come shortly after Johnson stressed that “progress” is being made in the talks with the EU, although he stressed that London must be “prepared” for an exit without agreement on October 31.
“I do not want to exaggerate the progress we are making, but we are making progress,” he said, before adding that the British authorities “believe the problem can be resolved” as a result of the agreement on backstop on the border with Ireland.
“We have to find a way in which the United Kingdom can leave the EU and really be able to do things differently, not remain under EU control in terms of laws and trade policy. This is the problem with the current agreement, “he said.
Thus, Johnson has stated that the British Government “wants to leave (the block) in a way that protects Ireland, ensures that there is no hard border of any kind in Northern Ireland and protects the Good Friday Agreement.”
“We think we can do it and we think we can find a way forward,” said the British 'premier', who also stressed that Juncker said Wednesday he does not have an “emotional attachment” to the 'backstop'.
In this sense, he has defended that “this is a progress”, since “that is not something that (the EU) said a month ago”. “We will see where we arrived,” he argued, while reiterating that the United Kingdom “must prepare” for an exit without agreement.
“We will be prepared for a situation without agreement on October 31. We must do both at the same time,” said the British Prime Minister, according to the British television network BBC.
The European and British negotiators for Brexit, Michel Barnier and Stephen Barclay, respectively, will meet again on Friday to try to move towards a solution that saves the agreement for an orderly divorce before the end of October, after London has sent Brussels in writing “ideas”.