Johnson Heads to Europe, Calls for New Brexit Negotiations
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will head to Berlin and Paris this week in a bid to persuade German and French leaders to reopen Brexit negotiations and secure a new departure deal for Britain from the European Union.British officials say he will emphasize that if a new agreement cannot be secured, he is ready to lead Britain out of the world’s biggest trading bloc on Oct. 31, come what may.FILE – German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, left, and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz talk as they arrive for the weekly Cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, May 15, 2019.Aides to German Chancellor Angela Merkel say she will rebuff Johnson’s entreaties and warn him that Berlin is ready to see Britain leave the EU without an agreement, despite the economic disruption the move will cause on both sides of the English Channel.Neither she nor French President Emmanuel Macron will agree to a new deal to replace the one they struck with Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, more than a year ago, senior EU officials told VOA.
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FILE – A car crosses over the border from the Irish Republic into Northern Ireland near the town of Jonesborough, Northern Ireland, Jan. 30, 2017.The no-deal documents were only drawn up earlier this month and presented to the government’s most important Brexit planning committee, said some sources.Fuel import tariffs could “inadvertently” lead to the closure of two oil refineries, and Britain could see mounting protests at the overall disruption. Gridlock caused by months of port delays could impact the distribution of fuel. Up to 85% of trucks using the main English Channel crossings could be delayed by French customs for up to three days, according to the documents.’Preposterous smears’On Sunday, Johnson lashed out at the reports of serious Brexit aftershocks, saying they were “preposterous smears” and had been leaked by pro-EU ministers from the previous government determined to stop Britain leaving the bloc.Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of Business Industry, said Monday that it is “difficult to predict exactly what the outcome could be, but in terms of our conversations with businesses over the years, these feel like plausible outcomes.” She said the documents “show just how incredibly serious for our economy a no-deal outcome would be.”The political tussle has intensified with pro-EU lawmakers plotting how best to thwart Brexit.Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, north east England, Aug. 5, 2019.All of the country’s parties are in the grip of election fever. Speculation is mounting that Johnson’s government, which has a majority of just one in the polarized House of Commons, will lose a no-confidence vote next month.Corbyn is trying to persuade the other opposition parties to back Labor to install him as the “temporary” prime minister of a time-limited government to block a no-deal Brexit. But while Scotland’s nationalists appear ready to support the Labor leader, Liberal Democrats and pro-EU Conservative rebels adamantly oppose Corbyn. They want a senior parliamentarian with little personal ambition to act as a transitional prime minister of a national unity government before a general election can be held.Advisers of Queen Elizabeth fear she may become part of the toxic political struggle, wrecking an unwritten constitutional arrangement that has kept modern sovereigns above partisan politics.