in Strasbourg, MEPs raise their voice against Boris Johnson

The European Parliament has passed a resolution stressing that if London does not meet its financial obligations, the assembly will oppose any exit agreement.

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MEPs vote on Brexit resolution on 18 September. VINCENT KESSLER / REUTERS

Boris Johnson has only a few real friends in Strasbourg. The British Prime Minister can count on loud and hilarious MEPs Brexit Party (Brexit party) Nigel Farage and the far right Europhobe, who denounce together "The European empire" and "Federalist elites kidnapping British and Irish citizens". But he faces a very broad coalition: five groups, ranging from Conservatives of the European People's Party (EPP) to the radical left. On Wednesday, September 18th, it adopted a resolution able to thwart "Bo-Jo" denouncing a leader who makes live " the darker hours to his country, in the words of a Spanish elected representative of the EPP.

Making Mr. Johnson the "Responsible for chaos", the "author of a stupid bet", a "dictator", or one "Hulk who better be Mrs. Doubtfire," European parliamentarians demand, by this resolution, that it is now incumbent upon the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to "To present in writing fully operational alternatives" to solve all current problems and those that will affect the future relationship between London and the European Union.

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The text also evokes "The strong opposition, both inside and outside the House of Commons, to the decision to suspend the British Parliament until October 14, 2019, which makes withdrawal more likely without agreement". This will not, however, result in the disappearance of "Financial and other obligations" from the United Kingdom, says the text. And if London does not respect these obligations, the assembly will refuse, says the resolution, to give its consent to any possible agreement between the Union and London.

MEPs, on the other hand, would not support an extension of the exit deadline beyond 31 October "If there are valid reasons and purpose for that"such as the organization of general elections or a new referendum. The obvious hope of the assembly being the fall of "Bo-Jo".

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"Nothing new under the sun"

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the Union's Brexit negotiator, have more mutedly denied Mr Johnson, who continues to claim that he is making progress in his so-called negotiation with Brussels. "There is nothing new under the sun," said Mr Juncker, re-emphasizing the risk "Very real" a lack of agreement on 31 October. "It is not certain that we will succeed in reaching this agreement, but it is certain that we must try", added the President of the European Commission, who now advocates "Political negotiation" between the British Minister in charge of Brexit and Mr Barnier.

The latter says he is available for "Listen to any proposal that would bring progress" in this discussion and once again insists on the "priority" of the Union: the backstop, this safety net intended to prevent the return of a "hard" border between the two Irlandes. This obligation "Pragmatic and not ideological" must also guarantee, he says, peace, the future relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the integrity of the European internal market. "The British government explained to us that they did not like the"backstop " but it is not enough to say that it must be suppressed ", Emphasizes Mr. Barnier, who talks about the risks "Very concrete" – safety, health or food – that its absence would run to Europeans.

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The former European Commissioner, evoking "Indispensable" future relationship with London, specifies that the level of ambition of it will depend on the guarantees obtained by the Europeans in social, environmental, competition and state aid.

He also considers it crucial to protect the rights of the 3.3 million European citizens living in Britain and the 1.2 million Britons living in the Union. They are not guaranteed at this stage, he insists, while the Parliament resolution also cares about the fate of citizens born in Northern Ireland (1.8 million) "Who are entitled to Irish citizenship under the Good Friday Agreement and, as a result, are entitled to citizenship of the Union and the rights derived therefrom where they reside". "I stress that all these issues to be resolved in priority will not disappear in case of exit without agreement"concludes Barnier.


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