EU deeply sceptical about latest UK plan for Brexit, Latest World News - The New Paper

EU deeply sceptical about latest UK plan for Brexit

This article is more than 12 months old

BRUSSELS: European Union officials expressed doubt yesterday that the latest British proposals on Brexit could yield an agreement before an Oct 31 deadline, with one saying Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan "can't fly" as it stands.

But the bloc was careful not to dismiss the proposals too soon and both sides are treading carefully to avoid any blame should the tortuous divorce process end in a crash.

More talks between both sides' Brexit negotiators are due today but the bloc has already made it clear Mr Johnson's plans - which principally involve arrangements for the border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland - are nowhere close to unlocking a deal.

They can only be a starting point to more talks, according to officials and diplomats dealing with Brexit at the EU hub Brussels.

"It does not contain any decent solution for customs. And it erects a hard border on the island of Ireland," said a senior EU official, saying the plan "can't fly" as it stands.

An EU diplomat said the plan would need to be fundamentally reworked to become acceptable. Time was short before EU leaders meet in Brussels on Oct 17 and 18 for a make-or-break Brexit summit, the person said.

Mr Johnson hopes to seal an agreement then and take Britain out of the bloc two weeks later.

However, the British Parliament has passed a law saying the country cannot leave without a deal and must ask for an extension if it gets nowhere at the EU summit. Mr Johnson vows to take Britain out on Oct 31 but has not explained how he would get around that.

He has also pledged not to request another delay to Brexit. - REUTERS