Tusk again warns no Brexit deal for UK without Border solution

UK has not produced proposals on how it will fulfil commitment to a ‘backstop’ solution

EU Commission president Donald Tusk says that's Britain's decision to leave the EU has caused the border issue in Ireland, and it is up the UK to help solve the problem. Video: EU Parliament


The UK has again been warned by the EU that unless it comes up with a solution that avoids a hard Border on the island of Ireland, both arrangements for its transition out of the union and the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement are in jeopardy.

The UK has still not produced proposals in the ongoing Irish “technical” talks taking place over the last two weeks in Brussels on how it will operationalise its commitment in December to a “backstop” solution, should other options fail to materialise.

At a minimum, backstop provisions are required by the EU for the Withdrawal Agreement which contains transition provisions and which leaders will return to in June.

Reporting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday night on the March European summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said he welcomed progress made in the Brexit talks. He warned that on the Border issue, “without a solution, there will be no withdrawal agreement and no transition”.

“Leaders will assess the negotiations in June. In parallel we will start our first talks about the future EU-UK relationship,” he added.

‘Have to help solve it’

Making clear that the UK could not simply leave it to the Irish and EU to decide what the customs arrangements at the Border should be, as some Brexiteers have suggested, Mr Tusk said: “The UK’s decision on Brexit has caused the problem and the UK will have to help solve it.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Times is reporting that the commission is working on up to 40 legislative measures to prepare the EU for a sharp break from the UK.

The initiative reflects the commission’s determination to press on with preparing for a worst-case, no-deal scenario. The proposals will amend laws and give special powers to regulators so the union can deal with a no-deal scenario, either on Brexit day on March 29th, 2019, or after a transition period.

EU diplomats, the paper says, have been told the measures would cover a wide range of areas, with particular significance for trade quotas, the car industry, transport companies, the union’s space programme, financial services and professional qualifications.