Brexit, Brexit, Brexit Countdown, European Union, Leo Varadkar, Boris Johnson

Brexit, Brexit

EU has no breakthrough Brexit offer - sources

European Union officials have denied reports that Brussels was preparing a major concession to Britain to secure a Brexit deal.

09/10/2019 15:33:00

European Union officials have denied the reports that Brussels was preparing a major concession to Britain to secure a Brexit deal, reports tconnellyRTE |

European Union officials have denied reports that Brussels was preparing a major concession to Britain to secure a Brexit deal.

The Times newspaper reported that the EU was ready to offer a mechanism for the Northern Irish assembly to leave a new backstop after a number of years.The new idea, as reported by the Times, would be a modified version of the consent principle.Citing diplomatic sources close to the talks, the Times said European governments were prepared to "concede a unilateral revocation of the withdrawal treaty by Stormont after a period of time. The date of 2025 has been mooted, as long as both communities agree to it.

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A European source was quoted by the Times as saying: "A landing zone on consent could be a double majority within Stormont, to leave, not to continue with the arrangements after X years."However, one EU official said: "Unfortunately, no bold new offer is coming from the EU side at this stage," while stressing that the bloc was not closing the door to more talks with Britain.

Another EU official dealing with Brexit said when asked if the EU was indeed ready to make such a step: "I did not hear that."The officials said the bloc felt the gap was too big between both sides' stance on the customs arrangements after Brexit to offer any breakthroughs.

A senior EU diplomat in Brussels added on the Times report that as far as they knew, it was not true: "We don't know where that story came from."A second diplomat dismissed the report as spin, saying that this has not been discussed in talks between Britain's Brexit negotiator David Frost and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Read More:Judgment deferred in Scottish Brexit caseTaoiseach warns Brexit deal won't be secured at any costLatest Brexit stories Commenting on twitter, the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson said the reported plan "creates a customs border between Northern Ireland and our biggest market in Great Britain. Economic madness. DUP has been clear in opposition to this. It's the NI only Backstop reheated and represents no real compromise." 

This creates a customs border between Northern Ireland & our biggest market in Great Britain. We do more business with GB than the rest of world. Economic madness. @duponline has been clear in opposition to this. It's the NI only Backstop reheated & represents no real compromise.

— Jeffrey Donaldson MP (@J_Donaldson_MP) October 9, 2019 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a fresh rebellion in his cabinet, with a group of ministers poised to resign due to concerns that he is leading the country towards a no-deal Brexit.

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The Times reported that Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan, Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Health Minister Matt Hancock and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox are all on a "resignation watch list".An unnamed cabinet minister cited by the newspaper said that a "very large number" of Conservative members of parliament will quit if it comes to a no-deal Brexit.

The Times said that ministers had warned Mr Johnson in a cabinet meeting about the "grave" risk of the return of direct rule in Northern Ireland and raised concerns about Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson's top adviser."Cabinet will set the strategy, not unelected officials. If this is an attempt to do that then it will fail", the report quoted another cabinet minister as saying.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said that Ireland still wants to work with the UK to find solutions to solve the impasse because the stakes are so high that constructive engagement is the only choice."If there is a way through this that manages to preserve the objectives that the Irish Government has outlined ... we want to find that way through," Mr Donohoe said.

He rejected claims that Ireland is seeking to "trap" the UK with Brexit backstop arrangements.Mr Donohoe told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "In terms of the charge that the Irish Government is looking to trap anybody in any kind of arrangement, that is absolutely not the case." 

Mr Donohoe said: "The so-called backstop was always an insurance policy."But, equally ... we do not want to see the return of customs checks and tariffs on our island."Last night Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned Mr Johnson that negotiating a new Brexit agreement by the crucial EU summit next week will be "very difficult".

The two leaders are due to meet in Dublin later this week and spoke by phone for around 40 minutes yesterday.Mr Varadkar said Ireland and the EU would not accept an agreement at "any cost"."There are some fundamental objectives that haven't changed for the past three years and we need them guaranteed," he told RTÉ news.

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"I think it is going to be very difficult to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly."Essentially what the United Kingdom has done is repudiate the deal that we negotiated in good faith with Prime Minister (Theresa) May's government over two years and sort of put half of that now back on the table and are saying, 'That's a concession'. And of course it isn't really."

Britain's Brexit minister will have lunch with the Mr Barnier, tomorrow, EU sources said.The lunch with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay would be "to check if there is any more flexibility on the UK side to head for a deal. For now, there seems to be none," one diplomat said.

Meanwhile, the British government is expected to call a special Saturday sitting of parliament following next week's EU summit, government sources have said.Ministers are planning to bring MPs in to Westminster on 19 October regardless of whether Boris Johnson is able to win agreement from EU leaders on a Brexit deal, the sources said.

The summit in Brussels on 17-18 October is the last scheduled meeting of EU leaders before Britain is supposed to leave on 31 October.  Read more: RTÉ News »

tconnellyRTE Boris Johnson is an utter embarrassment. Leaking to his lapdog Brexit supporting media misinformation. Trying to blame the EU and in particular Varadkar for what is Boris' failed Brexit plans. tconnellyRTE Is he sitting in a high up bus shelter? tconnellyRTE It's just misinformation from the english.

seanwhelanRTE Yeah but what's the latest on colleenrooney ?

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Foster accuses Govt and EU of trying to trap NIDUP leader Arlene Foster has said comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Northern Ireland must remain in the customs union for any Brexit deal to be reached reveal 'the real objective of Dublin and the European Union '. Yup, it was the plan all along. Cameron was in it, of course, with the 'shooting himself in the foot' act with the referendum. And then the whole Brexit campaign must have been in the scheme as well. And all for a country that costs the UK incredibly more than it produces. Complete Rubbish from Foster but they have done a rubbish job of representing people in Northern Ireland in the last 3 years. 😂 the head on her

Dominic Cummings memo reveals contradictory Brexit policy with demented overtonesTories just not used to Ireland having the upper hand against Britain No deal Brexit is the worst possible start to the negotiations for a later trade deal. A comprehensive EU and U.K. trade deal will take a decade or so fully to negotiate, even assuming mutual trust and respect. no deal is a disaster no deal ain't happening like seriously!! If you go back far enough you’ll find Dominic Cummings has Irish roots. If you go back farther you’ll find he has Scottish roots. And before that? His ancestors came to the UK from Normandy after the Battle of Hastings. A true Brit...

Varadkar and Johnson talk by phone and reiterate desire to reach Brexit deal Leo Varadkar : 'I don’t play dirty, I don’t think most EU leaders do either' Bollocks, his lies have now been exposed, the backstab was a trap that gave Dublin a veto over the United Kingdom until they ripped up the Belfast Agreement to shreds and coerced Northern Ireland out of the UK or made us a colony of Dublin NoAnnexation NoSurrender really? Your leadership campaign would tell a different story Teesh

Johnson faces fresh rebellion over no-deal BrexitBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a fresh rebellion in his cabinet, with a group of ministers reportedly poised to resign due to concerns that he is leading the country towards a no-deal Brexit We all know that is it only NOW they have twiged that His cabinet are completely devoid of backbone, so not expecting any resignations just yet. This is the EU fault they should have put proper measures in place , before UK joined EU , when they were finalising the agreement on paper' also for when ' UK leaving EU , the EU messed up , they should sort this out at the start ?