Boris Johnson’s hopes of sealing a Brexit deal in time for a vital EU summit later this week have been in jeopardy on Sunday night after two days of intensive negotiations left Brussels baffled in regards to the UK’s new customs proposals.
Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator, informed diplomats on Sunday night that British plans to preserve Northern Ireland within the UK’s customs territory whereas avoiding a tough border on the island of Ireland have been fiendishly advanced and never but correctly labored out.
There was “no breakthrough yet”, stated one EU diplomat, whereas noting it was constructive that talks would proceed in Brussels on Monday. “If the British government wants a solution, it must move quickly now. The clock is ticking.”
Another European official went additional, saying that talks on Monday could be “one last chance” for the 2 sides to bridge their variations or threat failing to agree a deal by the time of the EU leaders’ summit on Thursday.
Diplomats stated that the gradual tempo of progress within the talks has imperilled the opportunity of a deal on the October 17-18 summit — a core precedence for Mr Johnson — and elevated the chance of an additional summit being held shut to the tip of the month. October 29 and 30 have been mooted as attainable dates, simply forward of Britain’s scheduled EU departure date.
We’ve informed the UK our issues in regards to the single market and so they don’t have any solutions to it but
The newest information will come as a blow to Mr Johnson after hopes rose of a deal following breakthrough talks with Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, final week. Downing Street had hoped the negotiators could be on a glide path to an settlement at Thursday’s summit, with any deal put to a vote within the House of Commons on Saturday.
In the talks over the weekend, the UK introduced a plan that will contain monitoring the vacation spot of all items coming into Northern Ireland and making use of differential therapy relying on their last vacation spot.
The plan would legally go away Northern Ireland within the UK’s customs space, certainly one of Mr Johnson’s political pink strains, whereas — in concept — avoiding the necessity for a tough border in Ireland
Mr Barnier informed diplomats that there was “no precedent” for such a twin customs system to coexist in a single territory given the near-impossibility of monitoring the place items find yourself and the complexity of recent provide chains.
In an announcement, the European Commission warned that “a lot of work remains to be done”, including that negotiations would proceed on Monday. Talks had been “constructive”, it stated.
One EU diplomat stated the UK’s blueprint would lead to the “dismantling of the EU’s customs code” and go away the bloc open to widespread fraud within the absence of laborious knowledge about whether or not items find yourself within the single market or not.
“We’ve told the UK our concerns about the single market and they don’t have any answers to it yet,” stated the diplomat.
Mr Johnson is due to have one other spherical of calls with senior European leaders to attempt to drum up assist for his deal, together with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Day by day, it turns into increasingly more of a stretch. I’m not saying it’s not possible. It could be very, very demanding
At the identical time the prime minister continues to be making an attempt to sq. off potential critics in Northern Ireland’s DUP and amongst Tory Eurosceptic MPs.
At Sunday lunchtime Mr Johnson briefed cupboard ministers on the most recent state of talks. A authorities spokesperson stated the prime minister reiterated “that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on October 31”.
EU officers warned that there was a perilously slim window obtainable if the 2 sides have been to hammer out a deal for leaders to log out at this week’s summit.
“Day by day, it becomes more and more of a stretch,” stated one official. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. It is very, very demanding.”
Scepticism additionally stays deep amongst EU27 states as to whether or not any deal will in the end get by way of the British parliament.