EU calls out UK PM on playing Brexit blame game, Latest World News - The New Paper

EU calls out UK PM on playing Brexit blame game

This article is more than 12 months old

LONDON/BRUSSELS : The European Union accused Britain of playing a "stupid blame game" over Brexit yesterday after a Downing Street source said a deal was essentially impossible because German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made unacceptable demands.

With just 23 days before the United Kingdom is due to leave the bloc, the future remains deeply uncertain and both London and Brussels are positioning themselves to avoid blame for a delay or a disorderly no-deal Brexit.

In a sign that Mr Johnson's last-ditch proposals to bridge the impasse have failed, a Downing Street source said Ms Merkel and Mr Johnson spoke yesterday morning and she made clear that a deal was "overwhelmingly unlikely".

The Downing Street source said that if Ms Merkel's position on Northern Ireland remaining in the EU's customs union was the bloc's position, then a deal was impossible.

"If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever," the source said.

A spokesman for the German Chancellor confirmed the call had taken place but declined to comment further.

The EU was scathing.

"Boris Johnson, what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game," European Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter.

"At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people. You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't want to revoke, quo vadis?"

The Labour Party said Mr Johnson was trying to apportion blame for the failure of the negotiating process.

"This is yet another cynical attempt by Number 10 to sabotage the negotiations," said Mr Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, adding that the British Parliament needed to unite to stop him. - REUTERS