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‘No progress’: EU’s Sassoli downbeat after Brexit talks with Johnson

by Ace Damon
Boris Johnson meets the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli

The president of the European Parliament said "there was no progress" at Brexit after talks with Boris Johnson on Downing Street.

"I came here hoping to hear proposals that could move the negotiations forward," David Sassoli said in a statement.

"However, I must note that there has been no progress."

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The meeting comes after Downing Street said German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Johnson that a deal with Brexit was "extremely unlikely."

The prime minister spoke to Merkel for 30 minutes this morning, with Johnson emphasizing that Brexit negotiations in Brussels "are close to collapse," the number 10 said.

An agreement between the EU and the UK is "essentially impossible not just now, but always" after the "enlightening" phone call, a Downing Street source added.

Last week, the government presented its proposals for a renegotiated Brexit deal, with the prime minister hoping that this could be agreed before the October 31 deadline.

During the conference call, Johnson reportedly told Merkel that the plans – which would rule out the controversial Irish border support arrangement – represented a "reasonable offer" but were not apparent to him "there was any desire for negotiation by the EU".

The briefing sparked a reaction from Brussels, with European Council President Donald Tusk warning the Prime Minister that "what is at stake is not winning some stupid blame game."

In a tweet to Johnson, Tusk said, "What is at stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom, as well as the security and interests of our people. You don't want a deal, you don't want an extension, you don't." do you want to revoke, how vadis? "

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said "it's hard to disagree" with Tusk's comments.

The prime minister insists that the country will leave the European Union on 31 October.

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In addition to meeting Sassoli, Johnson spoke by phone to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for about 40 minutes.

"Both sides strongly reiterated their desire to reach agreement on Brexit," said a Downing Street spokesman.

"They hope to meet in person later this week."

In a lengthy statement issued after the pair's meeting, Sassoli said leaving the UK with a deal was "by far the best result" – but the European Parliament "will not agree to a deal at any price."

'No progress': EU's Sassoli downbeat after Brexit talks with Johnson

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He added: "We have examined the UK's proposals to replace the original background and our answer is that they are very far from anything that Parliament could agree on. Moreover, they cannot be operated immediately."

The backdrop was designed as an insurance mechanism to avoid a difficult border on the island of Ireland, regardless of the future EU / UK trade relationship.

But Johnson called the deal "undemocratic" and wants to dismiss it.

Brexitists fear that this could leave the United Kingdom trapped in the EU customs union – limiting the ability of new independent trade agreements – as well as following EU rules, but without influencing them.

Johnson had already promised to get the UK out of the EU "do or die".

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But legislation passed by opposition MPs last month obliges him to postpone Brexit if it fails to reach a deal – or lawmakers explicitly approved a no-deal exit – until October 19.

Sassoli said Brussels is open to agreeing to another extension "if there is a good reason or purpose for it."

From the perspective of a disagreement scenario, he said "it would clearly be the responsibility of the UK government."

Labor shadow secretary Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer, accused the prime minister of "engaging in a reckless blame game" and said he was "intent on disrupting negotiations."

"The prime minister should be here. Negotiations with the EU are collapsing as we speak," he told Commons.

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