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The EU urges Johnson to present new and viable proposals if he wants alternatives to the Brexit agreement

September 16, 2019

BRUSSELS, Sep 16 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The Twenty-seven have insisted on Monday in their messages to London to present credible and legally binding proposals to overcome the obstacles that hinder the agreement for an orderly Brexit, the same day that the outgoing president of the Community Executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, and British 'premier' Boris Johnson meet in Luxembourg to find solutions.

Upon arrival at work lunch in a restaurant in the Luxembourg capital, Juncker has said that “Europe never loses patience,” while in statements to some media, Johnson has been “cautious.”

Johnson maintains his firm refusal to accept the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU by his predecessor in the Government, Theresa May, because he does not accept the safeguard – 'backstop' in community jargon – designed to prevent the return to a border ' lasts', with police controls, on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom sees this mechanism as a threat, while for the block it is a safety net of last resort and cannot be waived to protect both the Good Friday Peace Agreements and the Single Market.

Thus, Johnson will transfer to Juncker who does not contemplate further delaying Brexit, which has already been postponed once, until next October 31, so he only contemplates as an alternative to an abrupt rupture that the parties achieve an alternative pact before October 18, date of the European summit.

However, EU countries insist that it is up to the United Kingdom to present viable alternatives to replace the Irish safeguard with the same guarantees as this instrument, and regret that London has not yet taken any steps in this regard despite the contacts on a technical level that have been produced for weeks.

“If Prime Minister Johnson does not bring anything new to his discussion with President Juncker, then there will be nothing to discuss on our part and there will be a hard Brexit,” the Austrian minister for Europe has told the press in Brussels, Alexander Schallenberg

“The British have to tell us what they need to convince their Parliament in London,” added the Austrian, upon arrival at a meeting with his European colleagues in Brussels.

He also recalled that the possibility of limiting the so-called 'backstop' to Northern Ireland instead of applying it to the entire United Kingdom as contemplated now, is an option that was offered several times to London during the negotiation but which the British rejected in all moment.

EU European Affairs Ministers meet in Brussels this Monday in a meeting without British representation, following Johnson's decision to limit UK assistance to EU work meetings. Although Brexit's situation is not formally on the agenda, several of the ministers have referred to this issue upon their arrival at the Council.

Among them the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, for whom any solution must go through a proposal that meets the same guarantees as the Irish safeguard.

“The safeguard is an insurance policy, with the idea that if we do not find anything better, we have something to organize ourselves to protect the peace and the single market,” said De Montchalin, after reiterating that the EU “is ready to listen to “alternative proposals from the United Kingdom that respond to the same parameters as the so-called 'backstop'.

Along the same lines, the Belgian Foreign Minister and future Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, has warned that the block maintains its “red lines” and that it takes for granted the separation agreement negotiated and approved by Brussels and London, although Keeps the door open to study other British proposals.

However, he insisted that the weight of taking the initiative rests with the British Government, who is the one who wants changes in the negotiated thing, so he must present “new proposals”.

“There are some red lines for the EU. Now there is an agreement and it is difficult to react if there are no new proposals. We will see if (European negotiator Michel) Barnier receives new proposals in days or hours,” Reynders has settled.

The Minister of European Affairs of Finland, current EU presidency, Tytti Tuppurainen, has added that the EU remains “open and waiting to see what happens in British national politics.” “Of course the EU is willing to negotiate when a proposal is submitted by the United Kingdom,” the Finnish has argued, but “so far we have not seen any that compensates for the safeguard.”