No-deal Brexit on Oct 31 still 'most plausible' scenario: French minister

AFP , Tuesday 1 Oct 2019

 Jean-Yves Le Drian
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (Photo: AFP)

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 remained the "most plausible" scenario, adding that Britain had yet to come up with acceptable proposals on how to avoid a messy divorce from the EU.

"The EU is still open to other proposals that would be compatible with the withdrawal agreement (agreed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's predecessor Theresa May)," Le Drian told parliament.

But in the absence of such proposals, the scenario "of a withdrawal on October 31, of a no-deal exit, is the most plausible," he added.

France however still considers the Brexit deal which the EU and May took two years to negotiate -- but which was subsequently rejected three times by the British parliament -- to be "the best solution", Le Drian said.

Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by October 31, with or without a deal regulating the movement of goods and people between Britain and its European neighbours after its departure.

Businesses in both Britain and the continent have warned of chaos if trade barriers are re-erected.

On Tuesday, Johnson said he would "shortly" provide the EU with new proposals aimed at breaking the logjam over a clause in May's deal that keeps Britain in the EU customs union after Brexit if necessary to avoid a hard UK-EU border running across the island of Ireland.

Johnson has only two weeks left to negotiate a new deal before an EU summit on October 17-18.

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