By Cristina Hodgson • 18 September 2019 • 22:12
BORIS JOHNSON has been warned he must give the EU new plans for Brexit by the end of the month or talks will be over.
Finland’s Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, gave the ultimatum after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron this morning.
Finnish PM Mr Rinne, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said without fresh proposals other leaders will back the French president Emmanuel Macron – who has taken the hardest line against the UK.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier also voiced the frustration of EU leaders, saying: “Some three years after the Brexit referendum we should not be pretending to negotiate.”
Today’s talks included European leaders and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Mr Juncker challenged Boris Johnson to table a plan to replace the backstop, but also said he would “focus” on a breakthrough “which is still possible”. After talks with Mr Macron in Paris, he said: “We need to know what the UK is proposing. Loose talk about proposals for negotiations is irresponsible. We are both concerned about what is happening in Britain right now and the confusion that is spreading out from there to Europe.”
Mr Juncker added “the risk of a No Deal is palpable” due to the PM’s insistence that Britain will leave on October 31 “whatever happens”. He told the EU Parliament: “Until such time as those proposals have been presented I will not be able to tell you any real progress has been achieved. “The Commission is prepared to work day in day out, from morning until night, to try and find the technical and political solutions we need.”
“I’m not sure we’ll get there. There’s very little time remaining but what I do know is that we need to keep trying.”
According to reports from Finland Mr Rinne concluded “If the UK wants to discuss alternatives to the existing Brexit agreement then these must be presented before the end of the month.”
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