Michel Barnier offers withering assessment of UK's latest Brexit proposals
"We are not in a position to find an agreement."
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has poured cold water on the latest Brexit proposals from the United Kingdom, highlight several key issues where no solutions have been offered.
Speaking in the European Parliament today, Barnier identified three issues where the UK's plan falls short, beginning with the UK's approach towards checks on goods in Ireland. As it stands, the UK is advancing a plan that will see checks spread out across the island on either side of the border "based on exemptions and tech yet to be developed."
Boris Johnson's plan also involves a time-limited backstop, which Barnier argues reduces the EU's sense of security.
Barnier has also repeated concerns that giving Stormont a veto on the backstop would jeopardise the single-market.
While Barnier maintained a deal could still be found, he said "The EU cannot accept the UK’s proposal, as it is today."
Taking a similar tack, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also told MEPs: "I don’t accept this blame game that started in London. Personally, I don’t exclude the deal. We are working on the deal. And we are not accepting this blame game which started in London. We are not to be blamed."
As things stand, the Brexit deadline falls on 31 October, though the UK's Benn Act may force Johnson to seek an extension from the EU should no deal be struck before then.