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Official speeches and statements - October 2, 2019

Published on October 2, 2019

1. Brexit - Reply by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris - October 1, 2019)

We’ve been in a state of uncertainty for over three years, and the difficulty is heightened by the fact that in the House of Commons there’s no majority for the withdrawal agreement, there’s no majority for no deal and there’s no majority for holding a general election. There’s no majority for anything. We know what the British don’t want, but we’d like to know what they want.

You mentioned the remarks made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who maintains his opposition to requesting an extension to the negotiating period, believing that he’ll get an agreement with the EU between now and the European Council of October 17; there are three weeks left. That isn’t long and it’s a pressing matter for the Prime Minister, and the proposals made so far respect neither the so-called Good Friday Agreement, on the Irish issue, nor the integrity of the internal market. So the European Union remains ready to receive other proposals, proposals which could be compatible with the withdrawal agreement, but for the time being no proposal to that effect has been made.

You know the position taken by France, which deems the withdrawal agreement the best solution, but the most plausible scenario today is a October 31 withdrawal, disagreement and a no-deal exit.

The British must nevertheless say how they see the future, because there are geographical and historical constraints which mean, at any rate, that the United Kingdom will always remain in Europe and that that future must be planned together.