BRUSSELS, Oct. 16 (EUROPE PRESS) –
European and British negotiators rush the last hours to try to close an agreement in time to avoid a chaotic Brexit on October 31, because despite the “constructive” contacts of the last days and hours, there are still key issues “to resolve “.
“Three years have passed, we can still wait three hours,” said Immigration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, at a press conference in Brussels after the meeting of the College of Commissioners, to questions about the state of the negotiations.
The EU negotiating chief, Michel Barnier, has informed the Community Executive of the latest technical-level contacts between Brussels and London, conversations that take place “constructively”, although there are still “key issues to be resolved.”
“The discussions are still going on, it will be a matter of hours that those questions can be answered,” Avramopoulos has defended, to avoid evaluating the progress, if any, in the face of an agreement.
Meanwhile, the meeting of Ambassadors of the Twenty-seven that had to take stock after listening to Barnier at 2:00 pm has been delayed at least three hours, to give room for the latest efforts.
The last pitfalls remain the alternative design for the Irish safeguard that London is not willing to accept under current terms and that the EU sees as an indispensable safety net to protect the integrity of the Single Market and prevent the return to a 'hard' border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Brussels appreciates that the Boris Johnson Government has sent signals in recent days that it is willing to seek credible and legally viable solutions, but Barnier asked on Tuesday that “good ideas be transferred to legal texts” and that is the negotiators' challenge now.
In any case, this Wednesday is key because the EU Heads of State and Government have already made it clear that in no case will they accept that the negotiations will continue at the summit that will meet them this Thursday and Friday in Brussels, because they must address matters very complexes that must be treated at a technical level and because time is running out for the date of departure.
In addition, even if the negotiating teams reached an agreement, it would not be valid until approved by the British and European Parliaments. Westminster, who has already knocked out the possible deal three times, could vote on Saturday.
Therefore, from the community block they assume that an extension will be necessary even in the best of scenarios, to allow room for compliance with the ratification process and to take measures to adapt to the changes.
If there is an agreement, the sources point to a “technical” postponement to comply with the procedures, while if there are not the hypotheses about the time and conditions of the extension are multiplied and would also require a second summit of leaders before the end of the month
In any case, they emphasize from Brussels, any extension depends on the United Kingdom wishing to request it and would not be accepted by the other Member States “at any price”.