Is a Brexit deal still on the cards?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar today, Thursday, to discuss the possibilities for Brexit with a deal. But in view of the British parliament and Johnson's opposition to a backstop and Ireland and the EU's determination to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, the chances of the two leaders reaching an agreement are not rated as high. The press is at odds over who is to blame.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

EU's inflexibility makes compromise impossible

The EU is not giving the British government any leeway in the search for alternatives to the controversial backstop, the conservative MPs Greg Hands and Suella Braverman argue in The Daily Telegraph:

“One wonders why developing Alternative Arrangements to the backstop was ever agreed by the EU earlier in the year. ... If there are in fact no acceptable Alternative Arrangements, it seems there really can never be a deal. Not only would this be bad for all sides, it would also mean that the EU’s greatest concern - a free-wheeling, hyper competitive UK on its doorstep, reorienting its supply chains to the US and Asia - might become a reality, as the UK might have no other choice in this crisis. From an EU standpoint, that would be an absurd result.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

The UK isn't North Korea

The Irish Times, on the other hand, says it's just a fairytale to think that the UK will turn its back on the EU and seek out other trade partners:

“The EU is Britain's main trading partner. ... It is simply not going to be able to live without striking a deal with it. It's hard to think of any nation on earth, apart from North Korea, which does not have trade arrangements with its neighbours. No-deal simply transfers the negotiations to a scenario in which the UK is facing sudden trading and economic chaos. It will go back for a deal, but in a weaker position than it enjoys at the moment.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Berlin as a Brexit scapegoat

Boris Johnson is trying to pin the blame for the failure of the Brexit talks on Germany, the Tages-Anzeiger notes:

“Aversion to the former wartime enemy and its rise to power via Brussels were one reason why many Brits voted for the Brexit in 2016. Even three years later we still hear that Berlin is using the EU as a Trojan Horse to control London. Many had hoped until recently that Berlin would convince the EU 27 to make compromises. Any mention of the idea that the chancellor would never sacrifice the unity of the 27 was avoided in London, and instead expectations were fuelled, so that now there is much anger.”