Brexit news: Macron could block talks if EU and UK rush through deal | World | News

Brexit news: Macron could block talks if EU and UK rush through deal | World | News
Brexit news: Macron could block talks if EU and UK rush through deal | World | News

Elysee officials have suggested that Paris wants sufficient time to evaluate the latest plans being drawn up by British and European Commission negotiators. Both teams are on the brink of delivering a compromise deal for Northern Ireland, which could be sprung on member states as early as tomorrow. Paris is nervous that capitals will be rushed into hasty decisions in order to make sure EU27 leaders will be able to sign off the deal at next Thursday’s European Council summit.

A senior French official warned that Mr Macron would want to exercise “extreme prudence” about the chances of a deal being struck.

The source said: “It’s not the Irish who will make the deal. Yes, there are better atmospherics, but what matters is the content, and we have seen nothing yet. Whatever it is, we will want to look at it in very serious detail.”

France wants to guarantee that there is time for a “clear assessment tonight whether there is an agreement or not”, another official said.

Mr Macron will refuse to hold any technical negotiations with Boris Johnson at the leaders’ summit on Thursday and Friday.

“The European Council will be a political moment to tell the story, not to make detailed technical negotiations,” the official added.

“It can not be a catch-up. We do not do things urgently.”

Michel Barnier this morning told a meeting of EU ministers that his British counterpart, David Frost, agreed that a customs border should not emerge on the island of Ireland after Brexit and the Democratic Unionist Party should not be handed a unilateral veto over any future backstop mechanism.

Mr Barnier also told the gathering that the chances of a deal hinge on using the Northern Ireland-only backstop as the “basis” of the new agreement, according to an EU source.

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The deal relies on UK officials convincing Brussels that Mr Johnson has support of the House of Commons, especially Tory Brexiteers and the DUP.

Officials in Berlin claimed that any substantial changes could take until next year to formally conclude.

Angela Merkel believes the complexities of the Irish border could take up to two months to “square the circle”

Irish premier Leo Varadkar suggested the deal could be done quick enough to avoid any further delay to the UK’s departure.

He said: “If we can get to an agreement on Thursday or Friday and if the House of Commons is able to vote in favour in an indicative vote in favour of that agreement on Saturday it may not even be necessary to consider an extension, but it’s too early to make an assessment at this stage.”

He added: “What I said last week as that I saw a pathway towards and agreement there is a different between a pathway and agreement what we discussed was those key stumbling blocks – consent and democracy, customs and the wider issues of the north south east west relationship.

“I think we we had a broad meeting of minds and landing zone in ming but actually turning that into a legal agreement is a different thing and that’s the kind of work that is underway.”

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