The European Union rejected new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit proposal just two months before Johnson has said Britain will leave the EU if the bloc refuses to renegotiate an exit.
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Johnson’s four-page Brexit proposal delineated borders for EU’s Ireland and U.K.’s Northern Ireland. EU members claimed one key part was "incorrect," and another "misleading." Johnson is trying to change the withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, which was rejected by the British Parliament. The Irish border issue was a sticking point that held up previous deal proposals for May, ultimately leading to her resignation.
European Council chief Donald Tusk defended the Irish border "backstop" as a peace-keeping measure, preventing a potentially trade- and travel- harmful hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
"Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border," Tusk tweeted Tuesday. "Even if they do not admit it."
The backstop plan aims to align British and European customs unions if negotiations can’t be reached – which has been a particular point of contention for trade and border traffic.
The EU's diplomatic note revealed plans to counter Johnson’s proposal, adding "it is incorrect to state that the people of Northern Ireland have no influence over the legislation that would apply to them."
In a diplomatic note obtained by the Associated Press, the EU slammed Johnson’s proposal saying the "letter's suggestion that two separate legal, political, economic, and monetary jurisdictions already exist on the island [of Ireland] and can be managed with an open border is misleading."
The accusation soured relations between the diplomatic partners and troubles Johnson’s scheduled visits to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday. European leadership is slated to resume relations this weekend at the G7 summit Biarritz, France.
Johnson returns to London with stark criticism of his exit strategy and apocalyptic no-deal scenarios of food, fuel and medicine shortages, as revealed by a leaked government dossier.
The minister managing "no-deal" preparations, Michael Gove, challenged the documents’ catastrophic predictions, saying they set out a "worst-case scenario" and plans for Brexit have been accelerated since Johnson’s installment.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed Monday to do "everything necessary" to prevent the U.K. from impending destruction in a no-deal scenario, including dismantling Johnson’s government and proposing a general election for a second public vote on Brexit. He is assembling support across the political spectrum.
"If MPs are serious about stopping a no-deal crash out, then they will vote down this reckless government," Corbyn said. "And it falls to the leader of the opposition to make sure no-deal does not happen and the people decide their own future.