EU panics as Barnier REFUSES to put time limit on Brexit backstop ‘I’m very worried’

Posted on Mar 5 2019 - 4:04am by admin

Mrs May is currently battling with the EU’s top negotiators to get changes to the Withdrawal Agreement that will satisfy enough Brexiteers for it to pass through the House of Commons. However one EU source indicated the Prime Minister’s strategy is not working, raising the likelihood Britain will leave the bloc without a deal. The diplomat said: “I am very worried. What will she put to Parliament?

“I have not seen anything in writing at all and there is no drafting going on.”

The comments, reported by the Guardian, come as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator refused key eurosceptic demands of putting a time limit or exit mechanism on the backstop.

Michel Barnier said yesterday there had been “no progress” on divorce deal negotiations as the EU is not prepared to “reverse” the backstop.

However he opened up to Theresa May’s hopes of securing something to put before Tory eurosceptics at the next meaningful vote.

Mr Barnier told four European news titles, including Germany’s Die Welt: “We will not reverse the backstop.

“It’s an insurance. We don’t want to make use of it. And this is also the case when you insure your house.

“It’s only intended for the worst-case scenario.”

Mr Barnier added the EU knows “there are misgivings in Britain that the backstop could keep Britain forever connected to the EU”.

However he moved to dismiss Brexiteer fears that the UK would be permanently tied to Brussels.

He emphatically said: “This is not the case.”

Mr Barnier added the bloc is “ready to give further guarantees, assurances and clarifications that the backstop should only be temporary”.

However despite the European Research Group, which is led by arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, indicating they are prepared to water-down their backstop demands, Brexiteers fear Article 50 may have to be extended.

EU leaders have repeatedly told Theresa May they would welcome a Brexit delay if she gave them concrete reasons, such as holding a second referendum.

Mr Barnier added any extension must be for a specific way of breaking the deadlock.

He said: “The question that the EU27 will ask is: What (is it) for? The answer cannot be that Britain wants to postpone a problem. One would want to solve it.”

He added that any decision to allow an extension would have to be unanimously approved by EU leaders at a summit on March 21.

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