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US News The EU think they have called Boris Johnson's Brexit bluff

13:00  18 october  2019
13:00  18 october  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

Johnson and Varadkar see 'pathway' to Brexit deal after talks

  Johnson and Varadkar see 'pathway' to Brexit deal after talks Boris Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar have agreed there is a "pathway to a possible deal" following "detailed and constructive" Brexit talks.The two premiers met at Thornton Manor in Wirral on Thursday for what their offices billed as a "private meeting" ahead of next week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

Boris Johnson has accused MPs of a "terrible collaboration" with the European Union in an attempt to stop Brexit . The prime minister said the EU had "There' s a terrible kind of collaboration as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends

Boris Johnson ' s hopes of securing a Brexit deal are riding on the upcoming EU summitCredit: London News Pictures. France and Germany’ s leaders also declared a long The pair said they had received indications from EU negotiators that an agreement would be reached. Mr Macron said: “I hope, I think

Xavier Bettel, Boris Johnson posing for the camera: Boris Johnson pictured with EU leaders in Brussels © Getty Boris Johnson pictured with EU leaders in Brussels This is not the deal that the European Union would have wanted on day one.

It is, they think, peppered with compromises and irritations, but the European nations believe it gives them something they desperately wanted - a sense of unity.

The group of 27 leaders took relatively little time to sign off on the deal at the start of the summit in Brussels.

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All gave it a warm welcome - the Dutch leader Mark Rutte told me he felt like rejoicing; Ireland's Leo Varadkar acclaimed the deal as proof of how the EU can pull together.

But there was greater meaning behind those words. The EU thinks it is calling Britain's bluff by delivering a Brexit agreement that, pretty broadly, delivers most of the benefits of the backstop without actually being a backstop.

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Kane Manera, Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel Barnier, Donald Tusk standing next to a man in a suit and tie: EU leaders signed off on the new deal on Thursday © Imagebridge EU leaders signed off on the new deal on Thursday

So when Michel Barnier, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk stood up to laud the deal, they weren't so much talking to Europe, as to British politicians. Their message: "We have compromised to get this deal - if it fails now, it's your fault."

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LONDON — Boris Johnson has agreed the terms of a Brexit deal with with Brussels, paving the way for a historic Commons vote which could finally see The new deal would see Northern Ireland remain in a customs arrangement with the EU while the rest of the UK left, meaning controversial regulatory

Boris Johnson has cautioned against speculation he could come significantly closer to a revised Brexit Overall, Johnson argued, the EU did not seem particularly dogmatic over what kind of deal “I think that they will be happy for us to have a relationship of equals, working together to build a new

Why? Well, according to well-placed sources, Mr Juncker, the European Commission President, received assurances from Boris Johnson that a deal would pass through the House of Commons.

Mr Juncker is standing down from his job in six weeks' time, and is keen that his reign finishes on the high point of diplomatic triumph rather than either an extension or a no-deal Brexit.

He believes, emphatically, that no-deal would be disastrous for the European economy.

Perhaps that's why he was so forthright in announcing that there would be no extension beyond the end of this month. That's what he wants - a deal, now.

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His gambit is that, by raising the spectre of a deadline in a fortnight, MPs might rail in behind the deal.

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Boris Johnson with other EU leaders at the start of the summit in Brussels. There wasn’t even a Brexit deal yet when the Democratic Unionist party announced it could not support it. “As things stand we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of

Boris Johnson has accused MPs "who think they can block Brexit " of a "terrible collaboration" with the EU . The prime minister said the EU had become Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna said Mr Johnson ' s claim was a "big deflection exercise to divert attention from the damage his Brexit policy is

But the trouble is that the decision about whether to give an extension is not up to him - if this deal fails in parliament, and the government is forced to ask for more time, that decision will fall entirely on to the shoulders of the other European leaders.

Mr Juncker may be able to cajole, persuade and influence, but he doesn't have a vote.

So Brussels is now planning two paths. If the deal passes through the House of Commons, then expect a meeting of EU ambassadors on Sunday, the Brexit steering group of MEPs on Monday, the parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Tuesday before finally being ratified by the European Parliament, probably on Thursday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. © Reuters Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But what if it doesn't succeed in Westminster? We may still get the meeting of ambassadors on Sunday, but after that we are into the realm of the Benn Act, and an extension.

There are plenty of EU countries who are wary, and weary. They're tired of the constant, sapping debates about a country that wants to leave.

"You have become the country that is on the edge of the garden, with its back to the fence," one diplomat told me. "We keep talking to you, but it's becoming awkward. You don't want to be here any more. We're all wondering whether it would be better if you were actually on the other side of the fence - still talking to us, but outside the garden."

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Boris Johnson has claimed he is not bluffing over his commitment to take the UK out of the EU on 31 And it’ s vital that our partners see that. They have to look deep into our eyes and think : my god, these Brits Pro- EU MPs led by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve are preparing to table an In a speech on Tuesday he will call for an emergency budget to prepare for a no-deal Brexit .

But would they refuse an extension? Almost certainly not.

I spoke to representatives from a range of EU countries and none suggested they would even consider vetoing an extension. When push comes to shove, they still think it's too early to embrace a no-deal Brexit.

Some, convinced that the deal offered here cannot be changed, believe the extension should be short - a chance for an election, say, or a change of heart.

Others are talking about something much longer, lasting into summer 2020 and beyond - a chance for a complete rethink. But all, of course, wait to see if an extension is even required.

"It is not up to us now - it is up to Westminster," was a refrain from more than one diplomat. In Brussels, they are now watching events in parliament, wondering whether this chapter of Brexit is coming to a close, or simply heading for another meander.

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