European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images
Barnier: EU ‘not really in a position’ to find Brexit agreement
‘Brexit is something that is long term, it creates specific, serious problems, first and foremost in Ireland.’
By Eleni Courea
Updated 10/9/19, 5:43 PM CET
The EU is “not really in a position” where it can find agreement on a Brexit deal, Michel Barnier said.
Speaking in the European Parliament on Wednesday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator rubbished Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit proposals and said they had led to “serious concerns” in the EU.
“To put things very frankly though and to try and be objective, at this particular point we are not really in a position where we are able to find an agreement,” Barnier said. He added that the U.K. proposals are merely a temporary way of avoiding a hard border in Ireland.
“I don’t think anyone in London or anywhere else should be surprised that the EU is committed to getting operational, legally sound and sustainable solutions in this agreement,” he told MEPs.
Barnier argued that the U.K.’s proposal for customs checks away from the border in Ireland hadn’t been fully developed or tested and were based on technology that is not, as yet, available. He said the alternatives proposed do not provide the same security as the backstop, and said Northern Ireland should not have the power to unilaterally withdraw from the arrangement, as envisaged in the plan from London.
“Brexit is something that is long term,