BBC's Brussels reporter outlines why bloc will not cave to Johnson – 'EU rather no deal'

Express

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07 серпня 2019 06:09

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Boris Johnson has taken a hardline stance with the EU, insisting Britain will not return to talks with the bloc until the European Union ejects the controversial backstop mechanism from within the withdrawal agreement. The European Union have repeatedly refused to budge, insisting the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation. But, BBC’s Brussels correspondent, Adam Flemming, has explained the impasse, and why the European Union would "rather" the UK to leave with no deal, instead of caving to Mr Johnson’s demands.

He said: “Other EU officials say the moment of truth will be when the British Parliament returns on the first week of September and we see how MPs react to what has or hasn’t happened diplomatically over the summer holidays.”BBC’s Fleming added that Mr Johnson’s approach had “not gone down well” with those in the EU. He said: “It has not gone down very well because the EU says there it is absolutely not acceptable to take out the backstop from the withdrawal agreement.“Right when I started this job on the first day of negotiations, I had read a book about negotiating and it talked about this concept called the BATNA. The BATNA means Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.“The issue we have got here is both sides have got different BATNA’s. So the UK's BATNA is, ‘this current deal is unacceptable because of the backstop. Take the backstop out - make some other tweaks, then that’s the best alternative to the negotiated agreement’.READ MORE: Shock as SNP MP launches surprise attack on Guy Verhofstadt

“The EU says, ‘well actually no, the best alternative for the EU side to this agreement is no deal at all’. Because that is how the EU preserves its integrity and its principles and its red lines and its negotiation.“It would rather it is no deal than a tweaked deal. Whereas Boris Johnson is saying he would like a tweaked deal before a no deal. Does that all add up to everyone eventually agreeing? It is going to be no deal”.Prime Minister Mr Johnson has failed to achieve any movement from the European Union who has repeatedly said there will not be changes to the controversial withdrawal agreement.Michael Gove has accused the EU of refusing to engage in negotiations on a new Brexit deal.

It comes amid reports from Brussels that EU officials had concluded Mr Johnson's new Government had no intention of negotiating and that its "central scenario" was a no deal break on October 31.Following a meeting of the Government's Brexit "war cabinet", Mr Gove told reporters: “We need a new approach and we stand ready to engage with the European Union, to negotiate in good faith to make sure that we can have friendly relationship in the future."We will put all our energy into making sure that we can secure that good deal but at the moment it is the EU that seems to be saying they are not interested."They are simply saying 'No, we don't want to talk'. I think that is wrong and sad. It is not in Europe's interests."Mr Johnson has said that while he wants to negotiate a new agreement, he is not prepared to open talks unless the EU agrees to drop the backstop - the key stumbling block to Mrs May’s deal.DON'T MISS:Brexit Party MEP issues warning to Boris - ‘Betrayal of vote!' [LATEST]Julia Hartley-Brewer smirks as she stuns SNP MP with crucial point [VIDEO]BBC's Laura Kuenssberg reveals the fatal flaw in May’s Brexit strategy [VIDEO]

Speaking on a visit to Northern Ireland, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar reiterated his invitation to Mr Johnson to go to Dublin for talks on the basis of "no pre-conditions".But, he said the withdrawal agreement could not be re-opened, although the EU could offer "clarifications" as well as possible changes to the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU.The Irish premier also defended the proposed Irish backstop, saying: "All this is about, in my view, is setting a floor on the future relationship."Because we know once the UK leaves the EU we are going to have to negotiate a free trade agreement, we are going to have to negotiate a new economic and security partnership and we are going to want to."What the backstop has been able to do is set a floor on that future relationship. It gives us the guarantee that, no matter what else may happen as a consequence of Brexit, we won't have any restrictions North/South or East/West."

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