If someone told me last fall that I would still be writing about Brexit negotiations a year later, I might not have believed them.
To my surprise, Brexit has become a joke to which there is no punchline. Negotiating Britain’s exit and a subsequent trade deal with the European Union, which The Guardian reports one conservative MP claimed would be “one of the easiest in human history,” has become a year-long struggle.
The latest episode in the great British breakoff prominently focuses on the EU’s “hard-hitting rebuff” of Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit deal, and the leaked report which exposes the details of the rejection, according to The Guardian.
The Independent reports that in a phone call between Mr. Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, Ms. Merkel personally rejected the Prime Minister’s most recent proposal. Several other European leaders have also told Mr. Johnson to go back to the drawing board lately. French Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, according to The Independent, told his British counterpart he needs to redraw his plans “by the end of the week.” On the other hand, The Guardian reports that Dutch foreign minister, Stef Blok, calls for more “realism and clarity” in the proposals to come from Britain.
Mr. Johnson denies the credibility of the leaked Brexit plans, details Forbes. He claims that the leaked plans, which were rejected, are not his actual proposal but affirmed how the “reality” of Brexit includes custom checks at the Irish border, much to the chagrin of the EU, Republic of Ireland, and some in Northern Ireland. Businesses will also be greatly impacted by a no-deal Brexit.
The reestablishment of customs checks between the Republic of Ireland and British Northern Ireland remains a key source of contention in proposed Brexit plans, particularly the latest one from Mr. Johnson, reports The Independent. In the plans introduced under former-Prime Minister Theresa May, there would have been a backstop between the two, keeping Northern Ireland in the European single market and preventing a hard border, The Irish Times reports. However, The Independent also report that both the EU and the Republic of Ireland have been solid on their stance that there will be no Brexit agreement without a backstop.
Currently, Britain is set to leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. There have been efforts in Parliament to extend Article 50, and Mr. Johnson has recently pledged to write to the EU to ask for an extension if a deal is not reached by October 19, according to The Guardian, though he has previously publicly expressed his refusal to extend Article 50. The latest repudiation from the EU makes an extension look more and more likely by the day.
Despite the rejection dogpiled upon Mr. Johnson and his proposal, talks have continued between the UK and the EU, according to The Independent. They report that “technical talks” were continuing between the parties, despite “little signs of progress being made.”
The BBC reports that the EU and UK have agreed to “intensify” Brexit talks, but Donald Tusk worries that the positive signs leading toward an agreement may be “political tricks” according to The Irish Times.