Brexit – Round up of recent comment from the EU

Tweets from Donald Tusk

Jan 20

My message to PM @theresa_may: The EU position is clear and consistent. The Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation. Yesterday, we found out what the UK doesn’t want. But we still don’t know what the UK does want. #brexit

Feb 6

I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.

Feb 6

Today our most important task is to prevent a no deal #Brexit. I hope that tomorrow we will hear from PM @theresa_may a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse.

Feb 7

Meeting PM @theresa_may on how to overcome impasse on #brexit. Still no breakthrough in sight. Talks will continue.

Feb 13

No news is not always good news. EU27 still waiting for concrete, realistic proposals from London on how to break #Brexit impasse.

Statement by Donald Tusk after his meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the 6 February

There are 50 days left until the UK’s exit from the European Union, following the decision and the will of the UK authorities. I know that still a very great number of people in the UK, and on the continent, as well as in Ireland, wish for a reversal of this decision. I have always been with you, with all my heart. But the facts are unmistakable. At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question. Today, there is no political force and no effective leadership for remain. I say this without satisfaction, but you can’t argue with the facts.

Today our most important task is to prevent a no deal scenario. I would, once again, like to stress that the position of the EU27 is clear, as expressed in the documents agreed with the UK government – that is the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration – and the EU27 is not making any new offer. Let me recall that the December European Council decided that the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for re-negotiation. I hope that tomorrow we will hear from Prime Minister May a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse, in which the process of the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU has found itself, following the latest votes in the House of Commons.

The top priority for us, remains the issue of the border on the island of Ireland, and the guarantee to maintain the peace process in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement. There is no room for speculation here. The EU itself is first and foremost a peace project. We will not gamble with peace; or put a sell-by date on reconciliation. And this is why we insist on the backstop. Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland, and the UK will leave the EU as a trusted friend. I hope that the UK government will present ideas that will both respect this point of view and, at the same time, command a stable and clear majority in the House of Commons. I strongly believe that a common solution is possible, and I will do everything in my power to find it.

A sense of responsibility also tells us to prepare for a possible fiasco. The Taoiseach and I have spoken about the necessary actions in case of no deal; I know that you will also be discussing this shortly with the European Commission.

By the way, I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely. Thank you.

Joint statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar 6 February 2019

The Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration have been negotiated in good faith and have been agreed by all 27 Leaders of the European Union Member States as well as by the United Kingdom Government.

As we have said on many occasions, the Withdrawal Agreement is the best and only deal possible. It is not open for renegotiation.

The backstop is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement. While we hope the backstop will not need to be used, it is a necessary legal guarantee to protect peace and to ensure there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland, while protecting the integrity of our Single Market and the Customs Union.

The Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, is a balanced compromise, representing a good outcome for citizens and businesses on all sides, including in Northern Ireland.

The backstop is not a bilateral issue, but a European one. Ireland’s border is also the border of the European Union and its market is part of the Single Market. We will stay united on this matter.

We will continue to seek agreement on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom but we will also step up our preparation for a no-deal scenario. In this context, programmes that provide support for cross-border peace and reconciliation in the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be continued and strengthened. The Commission stands ready to support Ireland in finding solutions answering the specific challenges that Ireland and Irish citizens, farmers and businesses will face. We will work closely together to this end over the coming weeks.

We will continue to remind the Government of the United Kingdom of its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement, with or without a deal.

Tweets from Guy Verhofstadt

29 Jan

Welcome the UK Parliament’s decision to reject a no-deal & the hope of cross-party talks on future relationship. We stand by Ireland & the Good Friday Agreement. There is no majority to re-open or dilute the Withdrawal Agreement in the @Europarl_EN including the backstop.

30 Jan

PM May is coming back to Brussels. She is always welcome, especially in @Europarl_EN, but what for? A breakthrough is only possible if the UK’s red lines change. Mrs May’s mandate from the UK Parliament is against something, but there is no stable majority in favour of something.

30 Jan

Political instability in the UK makes it difficult to conclude a lasting deal & highlights why we need an “all weather” backstop. Mrs. May & Mr. Corbyn are meeting & I hope it will be more than just tea & biscuits. We need a broad stable majority, which puts country before party.

6 Feb

Today I see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and tomorrow Prime Minister May. My message to the UK will be that it is not very responsible to try to get rid of a backstop that is meant as an ultimate safeguard to avoid a hard border and the return of violence on the Island of Ireland.

6 Feb

Successful meeting with @campaignforleo. I assured the Taoiseach that his Govt & the Irish people have the unequivocal support of @Europarl_EN. We will never abandon Ireland. We will never prioritise the wishes of a minority from a departing Member State over an EU Member State.

7 Feb

Open discussion w/ @theresa_may. Backstop non negotiable. We’ll never abandon Ireland. I welcome @jeremycorbyn letter making a cross-party approach for the first time possible. From the hell we’re in today, there is at last hope of a heavenly solution even if it won’t be Paradise

12 Feb

Despite meetings w/ UK reps, incl PM May, Lidington & Barclay I’m yet to hear of a proposal to break Brexit deadlock. I ask myself what are these negotiations at a “crucial state” raised in the HoC? The way forward is cross-party, not kicking the can towards a disastrous no deal.

Brexit Negotiations

EU Parliament priorities for Brexit

The EU Parliament have today released a document containing the motion “Motion for a resolution to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship” which outlines priorities in the negotiations, from the EU Parliament’s point of view, for the UK’s exit from the EU.

It will be debated next Tuesday (13 March 2018) for a vote in Parliament next Wednesday (14 March 2018)

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION – to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship (PDF)

The document has been prepared by the Brext Steering Group of the EU Parliament, led by Guy Verhofstadt – EU Parliament coordinator for Brexit.

It consists of 65 paragraphs, covering numerous topics, and mentions the possibility of creating an Association Agreement with the UK.

An EU Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between them.

5. Reiterates that an association agreement negotiated and agreed between the EU and United Kingdom post-UK withdrawal pursuant to Article 8 TEU and Article 217 TFEU could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship, and secure a consistent governance framework, which should include a robust dispute resolution mechanism, avoiding the inflation of bilateral agreements and the shortcomings which
characterise our relationship with Switzerland;

6. Proposes that this future relationship be based on the following four pillars:

– trade and economic relations
– foreign policy, security cooperation and development cooperation;
– internal security
– thematic cooperation

The EU Parliament does not have a formal role in the Brexit negotiations but it will have a binding vote on the eventual deal.

In a press release,

Press Release – Brexit: Parliament to set out its vision for future EU-UK relations

EU Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani said:

As far as the European Parliament is concerned, the principles governing our future relations are clear: single market integrity must be preserved, a third country cannot be treated more favourably than an EU member state and a level playing field is essential. Working from these guidelines, we want to achieve the closest possible relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom. Brexit will not solve shared issues such as terrorism and security, for instance, so close cooperation in many areas will continue to be of mutual interest.

Brexit negotiations have reached a critical stage, yet essential issues over citizens’ rights remain unresolved and solutions maintaining an invisible border on the island of Ireland are not forthcoming. Any type of border would jeopardise the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and I insist that this must absolutely be avoided.

With regards to the transition period, the European Parliament is also clear that we will not approve an agreement that discriminates against European citizens who arrive in the UK during the latter. The acquis communautaire must apply fully, including on citizens’ rights.

EP coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt added:

In order to break the deadlock we now face, I believe it is important that the UK Government now seriously considers engaging with the European Parliament’s proposal for an association agreement, as catered for by Article 217 of the EU Treaty. I am convinced this will allow both the EU and the UK to unlock a lasting deep and special partnership for the future.

We look forward to receiving some further clarifications from the British Government regarding citizen’s rights, as a number of outstanding issues remain unresolved. We do not accept the United Kingdom’s negotiating position that maintains discriminations between EU citizens arriving before and after the start of the transition period. We hope the British Home Office can come to Brussels to present their proposal for a registration system for EU citizens in the UK, in the search for a solution.