Johnson urges EU to renegotiate Brexit deal

EU terms Johnson’s demands unacceptable

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LONDON/BRUSSELS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the European Union on Thursday to rethink its refusal to renegotiate the Brexit deal, setting himself on a collision course with both the bloc and his own lawmakers over his vow to leave the EU by October 31. Addressing a rowdy session of Parliament for the first time since becoming prime minister a day earlier, Johnson pledged to deliver Brexit and a “broader and bolder future.

Rejecting the Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, he insisted that while he wanted a deal, it could only happen if the EU budged, especially on an insurance policy for the Irish border that has been rejected by UK lawmakers. I hope that the EU will be equally ready and that they will rethink their current refusal to make any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, he said. If they do not, we will, of course, have to leave  the UK without an agreement. The EU repeated, for the umpteenth time, its insistence that it will not renegotiate the agreement on the terms of Britain’s departure that it struck with May.

The European Union’s position remains unchanged. … We will not reopen the withdrawal agreement,”said European Commission chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva. Without a divorce deal, Britain faces a chaotic Brexit that economists warn would disrupt trade by imposing tariffs and customs checks between Britain and the bloc. They say that could send the value of the pound plummeting and plunge the UK into recession.

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator warned member states on Thursday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s demands to change Britain’s withdrawal agreement were unacceptable. PM Johnson has stated that if an agreement is to be reached it goes by way of eliminating the backstop. This is of course unacceptable and not within the mandate of the European Council, Michel Barnier wrote, in an email to EU ambassadors said.

Earlier, in his first appearance before the House of Commons as prime minister, Johnson had used the same word, unacceptable to describe the Brexit withdrawal agreement signed by his predecessor. In particular, he denounced the backstop, a mechanism in the agreement to keep Britain in the EU customs union until a future trade agreement is reached to keep the Irish border open.

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