EU Leader Warns 'No Deal Brexit Will Collapse the UK'
Jean-Claude Juncker issues warning ahead of Britain's looming European Union withdrawal
European Union leader Jean-Claude Juncker has issued a warning ahead of the British exit from the EU, declaring that a "No Deal" Brexit will "lead to the collapse of the United Kingdom."
President of the European Commission Juncker is heaping pressure onto Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the EU hopes he will cave to its demands.
Juncker is dismissing suggestions that the bloc will be responsible for a failure to agree on an exit deal, claiming that the United Kingdom committed the "original sin" of wanting to leave.
The warning comes amid claims the European Union is considering offering PM Johnson an extension lasting just weeks, rather than the three months that had been mooted.
Some member states want to deprive Boris Johnson of the time to hold an election, arguing that if he secures a majority it will put him in a stronger position.
Creating a No Deal "cliff-edge" could maximize the bloc's leverage to force Mr. Johnson into a humiliating climbdown.
According to the Daily Mail, negotiations appear to be on life support after Mr. Johnson had a brutal clash with Angela Merkel in a telephone call on Tuesday.
Downing Street briefed that the German Chancellor had told the PM that Northern Ireland had to stay in the EU's customs union and aligned to its regulations "forever."
A No10 source said that made the task of getting a deal "impossible," as the UK would never accept being divided.
Both sides are now desperately scrambling to find a way through the impasse but with little hope of success before a crunch summit next week.
A supposed "concession" by the EU on the Irish border backstop appeared to be dead on arrival today.
There are suggestions that Brussels could offer a "time limit" to show the UK will not necessarily be stuck in the arrangements forever.
"A landing zone on consent could be a double majority within Stormont, to leave, not to continue with arrangements after X years," an EU source told the Times.
However, the idea has already been shot down by the DUP, pointing out that it would require the consent of both nationalist and unionist communities to get out of the backstop.
And in an interview in French newspaper Les Echos, Mr. Juncker said it would be the UK's fault if Brexit turned sour.
"If that's the case the explanation is actually in the British camp because the original sin is on the islands and not on the continent," he said.
"A no-deal Brexit would lead to a collapse of the United Kingdom and a weakening of growth on the continent."
Government sources said Mr. Johnson could even boycott next week's crunch EU summit rather than suffer a ritual humiliation of the kind dealt out to Theresa May.
The collapse of the talks would put Mr. Johnson on a collision course over whether he can keep his "do or die" pledge to leave the EU by the end of this month.
No10 sources said if Brexit was delayed again by Parliament and the courts, the Tories would have 'no choice' but to fight an election on a No Deal ticket to prevent votes hemorrhaging to Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.