No-deal Brexit ‘most likely’ outcome now says France ahead of Boris Johnson visit

Posted On: 
21st August 2019

A no-deal Brexit is now the “most likely” outcome according to France ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit to try and re-open negotiations with the EU.

Boris Johnson is travelling to Paris to meet Emmanuel Macron on Thursday
PA Images

The Prime Minister is in Germany for talks with Angela Merkel where he is expected to repeat his plea for the Irish backstop to be scrapped.

But Brussels has already rebuffed his calls to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement, and he is not expected to secure improvements to the existing deal from his dinner in Berlin.

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He heads to Paris on Thursday for talks with Emmanuel Macron, but the French government is making it clear they will not be willing to ditch their red lines.

An official from the Elysee said “the central scenario now, as chancellor Angela Merkel has said, is no-deal” and “the unity of the two countries will be total”.

They added: “If the UK considers that having a backstop is absolutely excluded, that is its right, but in that case it limits the possibility of reaching an agreement.”

And they made it clear France will now be stepping up preparations for such a scenario, in a further sign no breakthrough in the negotiations is likely ahead of October 31.

The official also dismissed suggestions a no-deal exit for the UK would absolve it of financial responsibilities, saying: “The idea of saying ‘there’s not a deal, so I won’t pay’ does not work.

“We cannot imagine that a country like the UK would back out of an international commitment.”