UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he was “slightly more optimistic” that a deal could be reached to regulate Britain’s exit from the European Union after talks in the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz.
“I’m a little more optimistic,” Johnson said after tough talks on Brexit during the G7 summit.
But he added: “It will be difficult … there is a fundamental dispute” between Britain and the EU.
Johnson said it was up to the EU to promote an agreement, but he stressed the need to negotiate a new deal that did not include the Irish “safety net”.
The “safety net” is a clause that ensures that the border points between the EU member Ireland and the British Northern Territory do not return.
On Saturday, Johnson called the clause “undemocratic” because it asks London to keep its laws in line with EU laws during a transitional phase when Britain leaves the bloc.
The EU says the safety net is necessary to avoid a return of borders that could lead to a resurgence of sectarian fighting on the island.
The European Union refuses to negotiate a new agreement and sticks to the agreement concluded by former British Prime Minister Theresa May with Brussels, which was rejected by the House of Commons three times.
Johnson said his expectations for an agreement “depend solely on the willingness of our friends and partners (in the EU) to find a compromise on this articulation point and to abandon the safety net and the current withdrawal agreement.”
Responding to concerns about his willingness to ignore the House of Commons in order to ensure that the Brexit investigation is scheduled for October 31, Johnson said the British people are fed up with Brexit’s headlines.
“I think it’s an issue that parliamentarians themselves have to understand correctly,” the prime minister said, adding that MPs should implement the outcome of the 2016 referendum in which the British chose to leave the EU.
“People are tired of looking into this and are eager for a moment when the headlines are empty of the Brexit dossier. But that will only happen if we leave the EU on October 31,” he said.
Johnson reiterated that if Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement, it will not pay the full exit bill from the bloc of 39 billion pounds (47 billion dollars, 43 billion euros) agreed on between May and Brussels.
But Johnson did not say how much he intended to pay or whether he intended to make any payments.
“In any case, if there is an exit without an agreement, a large part of the 39 billion will be at the disposal of the United Kingdom to spend on our priorities, including dealing with the consequences of exit without an agreement.”
But the EU says Britain should pay the bill in full even if it leaves the bloc without agreement.
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