Barnier warns no-deal without Irish border agreement

The European Union will not conclude an Article 50 agreement with the UK or give London a transition period after Brexit without a deal that prevents a “hard” border in Ireland, the bloc’s main negotiator Michel Barnier said.

Addressing the joint news conference with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Michel Barnier said he would seek to agree the whole 100 percent of a accord with London.

“We are still not at the 100 percent,” Barnier said. “What is missing is a solution for the issue of Ireland.

Without an operational backstop there will not be an accord and there will not be a transition period. That is certain.”

The EU was working to improve its offer for the so-called backstop, or an emergency fix to keep the Irish border open regardless of Brexit consequences, but that it must be functional, operational and all-weather, he added.

It cannot have an end-date. It must be applicable unless and until another solution is found,” Barnier said.

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