British PM Johnson's proposals to seek a Brexit deal fall well short of expectations on three key points, says Guy Verhofstadt. The UK leader is facing backlash over his confrontational tone in the House of Commons.
The European Union says it is still waiting for useful proposals from London to unblock stalled talks on the terms of the UK's departure from the bloc.
After meeting with the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the European Parliament's chief Brexit official Guy Verhofstadt said that British proposals on how to better deal with the border between Ireland, which will remain in the European Union, and the UK's Northern Ireland do not preserve consumer safety, do not protect EU businesses and would not preserve peace in the volatile region.
He wrote on Twitter "so far UK proposals fall short on all 3 fronts."
Barnier said on Thursday that he is "still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal" from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but indicated insufficient progress had been achieved in the past few weeks.
Barnier said the EU is still waiting, underscoring the view that four papers circulated by the UK over the past days fell far short of getting real negotiations going again.
Johnson facing backlash
The EU already had already struck a deal with the UK on departure terms, but it was rejected multiple times by the British Parliament. Johnson now wants to drastically renegotiate the agreement or leave without a deal on October 31.
The British prime minister is also facing a backlash from furious lawmakers Thursday over his use of charged and confrontational language in Parliament about opponents of his Brexit plan.
The speaker of the House of Commons warned that the country's political culture had turned "toxic."
Boris Johnson's sister, Rachel Johnson, has also criticized the prime minister and disapproved the language he uses when discussing Brexit. She said a lot of the heated rhetoric around Brexit "was initiated in the tabloids."
"My brother is using words like 'surrender' and 'capitulation' as if the people standing in the way of the blessed will of the people, as defined by the 17.4 million votes in 2016, should be hung, drawn, quartered, tarred, and feathered," she said. "I think that is highly reprehensible.... It serves no purpose."
No grounds for arrogance
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, said she expects that the UK will find its own way after leaving the EU and there are no grounds for arrogance toward the country.
"They will get back on a good course, I am not at all worried about Britain. We must see that we, in our own interest, have good relations with this country, and any form of arrogance is completely inappropriate there," Merkel said in Frankfurt on Thursday.
The German chancellor also asked if failings on the European side had contributed to Britain's current problems. She acknowledged that mistakes might have been made on continental Europe, but noted that "since the day Britain joined the European Union, this discussion about 'do we want this or don't we?' has continued to smolder."
Furthermore, Merkel called for introspection and self-criticism among the remaining 27 EU member states. "The departure of the UK once again calls for reflection on our part: Where can the EU's structures be improved?"
sri/sms (AP, Reuters)