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Irish backstop must be part of Brexit deal, says EU Parliament chief

Sep 13, 2019 | News

(13 September 2019) – There will be no Brexit deal without an Irish backstop, European Parliament President David Sassoli said yesterday. However, the EU is willing to revive a proposal that would keep only Northern Ireland in the bloc’s orbit to maintain a seamless border to Ireland.

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The backstop, the key obstacle to a deal, aims to ensure no customs or regulatory controls are imposed on the border between the British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.

EU leaders will reconvene in Brussels on 16-17 October for the next European Council summit where it will be the last chance for London to strike a deal in time for an 31 October exit. The European Parliament has to approve any Brexit deal agreed between the EU and Britain for it to take effect.

MEPs have drafted a motion on Brexit to be debated and voted on in the European Parliament’s next Strasbourg plenary session to “approve the work that has been done so far, stress the unity on the EU and institution side.” The draft resolution suggests that MEPs are open to an extension, though Sassoli said that this could only be if the UK held an election or referendum.

It also states that if there is a no deal departure that will be entirely the responsibility of the United Kingdom, language which can be interpreted as a retort to UK politicians who have accused the EU of being intransigent and unwilling to compromise in the negotiations. (EurActiv)

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