Johnson threatens to withhold $48 billion ‘divorce bill’ if EU fails to compromise on withdrawal agreement.
In an ongoing war of words, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told European Council President Donald Tusk that he will go down in history as ‘Mr No-Deal’ if the European Union continues with its refusal to change the withdrawal agreement.
The remark came after the European Council President, who head the EU’s executive body, said that Prime Minister Johnson should accept the withdrawal agreement handed by Brussels to his predecessor Theresa May as he “will not like to go down in history as ‘Mr No Deal’.”
Reacting to EU President Tusk’s comments, Prime Minister Johnson shot back saying that “if Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as ‘Mr No-Deal Brexit,’ then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him too.” The British Prime Minister was referring to Tusk’s refusal to make any changes to the withdrawal agreement.
PM Johnson has repeatedly stated he is willing to leave the EU with a reasonable deal in hand, but if the European bloc continues to insist on imposing punitive terms on the UK, he will opt for a no-deal Brexit, scrapping all existing trade and immigration agreements between London and Brussels.
As part of the no-deal, the UK plans to bar EU criminals from entering the country. Under the current British immigration system, subjected to the EU regulations, London was not allowed to impose entry restrictions on travelers holding EU passports. “Boris Johnson will change the rules to allow UK border officials to turn any EU criminals who have previously been jailed for a year or more, sweeping away EU regulations that allowed any EU national entry unless they were a threat to public safety,” UK’s Daily Telegraph reported on Monday quoting an official from the Prime Minister’s office.
Reuters reported PM Johnson’s comments:
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned European Council President Donald Tusk that unless he agrees to change the Brexit divorce deal, Tusk will be known as “Mr No Deal”.
Johnson was responding to Tusk’s earlier comments that he would not cooperate in preparing for on a no-deal Brexit.
The prime minister wants the EU to drop the so-called Irish backstop, which is an insurance policy designed to prevent the return of a hard border between the Irish Republic and the British province of Northern Ireland.
“I would say to our friends in the EU if they don’t want a no deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty. If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as Mr No Deal then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him too,” Johnson told reporters.
The beleaguered British Prime Minister got support from the other side of the Atlantic on Sunday, as U.S. President Donald Trump told him that he was looking for a “very big trade deal” with the UK after Brexit. President Trump praised PM Johnson, calling him “the right man” to deliver Brexit. The remarks were made as the two leaders met for a breakfast meeting at the G7 summit in France.
PM Johnson is expected to bring some unwelcome news to EU officials this weekend. The UK government was going to renege on the promise of paying all of the £39 billion, around $48 billion, ‘divorce bill.’ “Boris Johnson is set to warn the EU, Britain will hold back £30bn of its Brexit divorce bill in the event of a No Deal,” British daily The Sun reported on Saturday. The move could be an attempt to force the EU to reconsider the terms of the withdrawal agreement.
Despite tough negotiations, PM Johnson continues to express optimism about the outcome of the current round of talks with the EU member states. “If we approach this with sufficient patience and optimism, we can get this done. It’s in the final furlong generally when the horses change places and the winning deal appears,” Johnson said ahead of the G7 summit.
However, with Germany and France united in there opposition to any concession on Brexit, there is little room for such optimism. “Have no doubt that the French and German positions—and elsewhere [within the EU]—are the same. There’s not the thickness of a cigarette paper between us,” a French presidency staffer declared ahead of the summit.
With the October 31 deadline approaching, Britain faces the most crucial choice since the Second World War. At this decisive hour the British Prime Minister is fighting on two fronts: not just with the vindictive Eurocrats in Brussels, but also with a deeply entrenched pro-EU political and media establishment at home. Senior British Members of Parliament (MP) are actively collaborating with the EU to prevent Brexit, according to PM Johnson’s own admission. His political rival, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, is conspiring to form a caretaker government to stop a no-deal Brexit. The next ten weeks will decide the fate of Britain. The outcome will decide if this once-proud island nation will regain its lost sovereignty or resume its subservient role under the EU’s yoke after a glorious yet brief revolt.
Donald Tusk says he won’t cooperate with a no-deal Brexit at the G7 summit in Biarritz
[Cover image via YouTube]
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