In news that will give rise to increased pessimism, Michel Barnier has announced that he is not willing to publish a draft declaration on the future UK-EU relationship. Once again, discussions have broken down, and the negotiation process finds itself stagnating, over the issue of the Irish border. A key obstacle in achieving consensus – the ‘backstop’ deadlock remains the overarching point of dispute between the UK and the EU.
This follows Sunday night’s news that plans had been stalled, and eventually brought to a halt, as Dominic Raab refused to accept the EU’s offer on the Irish border. The combination of these recent developments now rules out a breakthrough in the Brexit impasse, for the time being, as optimism surrounding the possibility of progress continues to subside.
A meeting between Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and European Union negotiator Michel Barnier failed to produce a breakthrough https://t.co/P2reNtGaf1
— Press Association (@PA) October 15, 2018
Tuesday morning saw the Cabinet meet to talk about the progression that was being made, and excitement was brewing as an outline of an agreement was expected to be put forward. However, Barnier’s comments are likely to dampen the mood ahead of Wednesday night’s summit dinner, in which Theresa May will address the other 27 EU member states.
As Barnier announced that the EU needed more time, Donald Tusk, again showing the usual characteristics of European contempt, suggested there is ‘no optimism’ for Brexit. He has called for new ‘concrete proposals’.
No grounds for optimism before #Brexit #EUCO. Only source of hope for now is the goodwill and determination on both sides. For a breakthrough we need new facts.
My press remarks after #TripartiteSocialSummit: https://t.co/iaOG6aDQJ4 pic.twitter.com/usQ2zZ9KEK
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 16, 2018
As deadlines approach, and a no deal Brexit looks increasingly likely, there is a sense of despair amongst political elites. Whilst the EU continues to be guilty of displaying uncooperative negotiating tactics, the message to the Government is somewhat clear – the current proposal will not achieve a mutually beneficial solution to the Irish border issue. The EU have called for the Government to present a creative alternative, they should be grateful that it already exists. It is now time for PlanA+ to be thoroughly considered.