EU’s Tusk asks: does UK’s Johnson want to be ‘Mr. No offer’?

BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council head Donald Tusk sparred on Saturday over who would be to blame must Britain leave the EU on Oct. 31 without a divorce deal in location.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gets here in Biarritz for the G7 top, France, August 24,2019 REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/Pool

Tusk informed reporters in Biarritz he would want to hear ideas from Johnson on how to avoid a no-deal Brexit when the two men meet on Sunday on the sidelines of a G7 top in the French seaside resort.

But he included he would not deal with Britain on an exit from the EU without a withdrawal agreement. “I still hope that PM Johnson will not like to go down in history as Mr No Offer,” stated Tusk, who leads the political instructions of the 28- nation European Union.

Johnson later answered back that it would be Tusk himself who would carry the mantle if Britain could not secure a new withdrawal agreement.

” I would say to our friends in the EU if they don’t desire a no offer Brexit then we’ve got to eliminate the backstop from the treaty. If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as Mr No Offer then I hope that point will be remembered by him too,” Johnson informed reporters on his flight to France.

3 years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, the outcome of the tortuous Brexit crisis stays unclear, with choices ranging from an acrimonious rupture on Oct. 31 to a smooth, friendly exit or even another referendum.

The bloc and its leaders have repeatedly refused to reopen a Withdrawal Arrangement, which includes a procedure on an Irish border insurance plan that then-prime minister Theresa May concurred in November.

Johnson is hoping that the risk of a disorderly ‘no-deal’ exit will encourage the EU to grant him the divorce offer he desires. Nevertheless, on his very first foreign journey as prime minister last week, the response from EU heavyweights Germany and France was company: the Withdrawal Arrangement will not be altered much.

Brexit is expected to come up at a conference of the leaders of the European G7 countries – France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom – and Tusk later Saturday.

Johnson’s key need is that the EU eliminate the Irish border backstop, which would keep the UK in a customizeds union with the EU unless a much better service is discovered to keep open Ireland’s 500- km (300- mile) land border with the British province of Northern Ireland.

He has sworn to lead the UK out of the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Reporting by John Chalmers, William James and Richard Lough; Composing by John Chalmers; Modifying by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens

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