Brussels is talking about alternatives to the backstop. It is based on preliminary ideas from London. But they did not mark a “turning point” in Brexit, they say.
According to the Irish government, the Brexit talks between the EU and Britain are not a turning point. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that the mood has improved, on the BBC radio programme. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s last visit seems to be the reason for that. But we must be honest with the citizens and make it clear that we are not on the verge of a breakthrough.
Meanwhile, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has shown himself willing to look for alternatives to the rejected emergency solution for Ireland by the British government, the so-called backstop. The UK had sent initial ideas to Brussels to avoid both a fixed border between EU member Ireland and British-controlled Northern Ireland and an expansion of the EU Customs Union. Johnson wants to prevent the latter at all costs.
EU and UK negotiators Stephen Barclay and Michel Barnier will discuss these and few other points in Brussels during the day. According to EU sources, another meeting of Johnson and Juncker is planned for next week in New York. According to Ireland’s Foreign Minister, the “documents” from London are still not sufficient to adapt the previous withdrawal agreement and thus prevent a Brexit without a deal. We are always looking for serious proposals from the British government, Coveney told the BBC.
The Finnish EU Presidency wants these proposals to be ready by the end of September. Otherwise, they could not be applicable for further negotiations. British Prime Minister’s spokesman countered: “Formal written solutions” will be proposed when they are entirely prepared- not because of “an artificial deadline.”
Supreme Court decision early next week
Meanwhile, the dispute over the forced break for the British Parliament has not yet been legally resolved. It’s not easy to decide the question, according to Supreme Court President Brenda Hale at the end of the hearing, which began on Tuesday. We know that the case must be resolved as quickly as it could be,” Hale said We desire to be able to declare our ruling early next week.
In concrete terms, there are two cases before the Supreme Court: one by anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller and one by 78 parliamentarians. In both cases, the issue is whether Johnson acted lawfully when he advised Queen Elizabeth II to adjourn. Critics accuse the conservative head of government of trying to undermine parliament at the certain Brexit times and thus undermine democracy. Johnson’s lawyers, on the other hand, continued to argue in court that this was a routine process and that the government only wanted time to prepare the new government programme because of the forced break.