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BREAKING NEWS

EU still awaits 'legal and operational' Brexit ideas from UK, says bloc's negotiator Barnier

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FILE PHOTO: European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on Brexit
FILE PHOTO: European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on Brexit -
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REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
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The European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday that Britain has yet to provide "legal and operational" proposals that could break the Brexit impasse.

"We are still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal from the UK," Barnier told reporters on arriving for talks with European lawmakers on the latest developments on Brexit.

"We are still waiting for this."

Barnier declined to comment on the spiralling political crisis in Britain, where parliament resumed on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled Prime Minister Boris Johnson unlawfully suspended it.

Green MEP Philippe Lamberts, who attended the weekly Brexit Steering Group meeting with Barnier, told the Financial Times Brussels correspondent_:_ "Barnier had nothing to report because there is nothing happening. We do not have anything to negotiate on"

Johnson vows to take his country out of the EU on October 31 with, or without a deal to manage the fallout.

Britain submitted its fourth technical paper to the EU this week to detail its proposals on customs arrangements after Brexit, diplomatic sources told Reuters, as London seeks to replace the contentious Irish border backstop in the stalled divorce treaty.

Sticking points

But the EU says London's ideas so far - on food and animal checks, customs and regulatory controls, checks on manufactured goods and market surveillance, among others - fall short and are not acceptable as alternatives.

The backstop is anathema for many in Britain as it could tie the country to the EU's trading rules for years to maintain an open Irish border and at the same time ensure the necessary controls between the bloc and Britain after they split.

Read more:

What is the Irish backstop and why does Boris Johnson want it ditched?

No-deal Brexit: everything you need to know

Brexit Guide: Where are we now?

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