Macron gives one-week Brexit deal deadline

President Macron has said the UK has to the end of the week for final negotiations to demonstrate it has a workable Brexit plan.

7 October 2019
By Oliver Rowland

It comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted to Mr Macron that the UK will leave at the end of the month and there cannot be a further delay.

The Elysée has stated that in a telephone discussion at the weekend Mr Macron said “the negotiation should continue rapidly in the next few days with [EU chief negotiatior] Michel Barnier’s team so as to be able to evaluate at the end of the week if an agreement is possible”.

Meanwhile Number 10 reports that Mr Johnson also spoke of a “last opportunity to arrive at an agreement” and that in order for it to happen he said the EU was going to have to make compromises, as he said the UK had done in the last weeks and months.

Mr Johnson also told Mr Macron that the EU must not think, wrongly, that the UK could remain in the EU afer October 31.

This is despite the fact that the UK parliament voted through the Benn Act which states that the prime minister must ask the EU for an extension for three months in the event of no Brexit deal having been agreed by MPs' by October 19 (one day after an EU leaders’ summit to be held on October 17-18). However it would only take one EU leader to veto such an extension.

According to The Telegraph, senior government figures told the newspaper that Mr Johnson is considering threats to veto the EU’s 2021-2027 budget and to appoint a strongly Eurosceptic European commissioner, such as Nigel Farage, if he is forced into another Brexit delay.

However the budget is not expected to be voted on before June 2020 and the Commission’s new president or the European Parliament have the power to reject a member state’s nomination for a new commissioner.

Mr Macron’s ultimatum to Mr Johnson comes as the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has tweeted that “important questions remain” to be resolved so as to arrive at a new deal and the European Parliament has said it could not accept the UK' s current proposed solution for the Irish border as laid out in a seven page summary by the UK government last week.

Opposition MPs are today expected to press for the full 40 pages of the UK's Irish border proposals that the it submitted to the EU to be made public.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has said this is because they suspect it will show that border infrastructure – which would be unacceptable under the Good Friday Agreement – will be unavoidable.

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