The Latest: EU officials worried about Johnson’s language
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
European Union officials are concerned about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s use of “offensive” language in parliament, notably words like “surrender”, “betrayal” and “traitor.”
Taking to Twitter, the EU commissioner in charge of security issues — U.K. national Julian King — describes Johnson’s choice of words as “crass and dangerous.”
King says that “if you think extreme language doesn’t fuel political violence across Europe, including U.K., then you’re not paying attention.”
EU commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva says “respect is the key word” in political debate.
She told reporters Thursday that “respect is a fundamental value in all democracies. It is the responsibility of each and every politician to uphold our values, and history has shown us what happens when they are not respected.”
The Dutch government is giving new tips to businesses and health care institutions to help them cope with “Brexit fatigue” and prepare for Britain’s departure from the European Union — whenever that may be.
Foreign Minister Stef Blok said Thursday he understood that not everybody was fully prepared for Brexit because of uncertainty about the timing.
But he said Britain leaving the bloc on Oct. 31 without a deal remains “a real possibility” and pointed out new online programs and advice the government has developed to “tackle Brexit fatigue” and complete the necessary preparations.
The government says research shows that 80-85% of Dutch businesses have started preparing for Brexit but more than half of them are not fully ready.
Among the tools being launched is an interactive “Track & Trace” page that will allow businesses to simulate doing business with the UK and highlight possible obstacles so they can deal with them before Brexit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she expects that Britain will find its own way after leaving the European Union and there are no grounds for arrogance toward the country.
Merkel didn’t address details of the current Brexit impasse during an appearance in Frankfurt Thursday. She said that “they will get back on a good course, I am not at all worried about Britain. We must see that we, in our own interest, have good relations with this country, and any form of arrogance is completely inappropriate there.”
Merkel was asked if failings on the European side had contributed to Britain’s current problems. She acknowledged that mistakes might have been made in continental Europe but noted that “since the day Britain joined the European Union, this discussion about ‘do we want this or don’t we?’ has continued to smolder.”
The British Parliament has rejected the government’s request to adjourn for a week so that Conservative lawmakers can attend the party’s annual conference. The vote was 306-289.
It is unclear whether lawmakers will go to the gathering that starts Sunday. It usually sees speeches from senior government ministers including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson has been at odds with Parliament ever since vowing that Britain will leave the European Union on the scheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a Brexit deal. He is pitting himself against lawmakers who are determined to avoid a no-deal exit, which economists say would disrupt trade with the EU and plunge the U.K. into recession.
Britain’s Supreme Court this week unanimously ruled that Johnson’s attempt to suspend Parliament for five weeks until Oct. 14 stymied its scrutiny of the government’s Brexit policy. The court declared the suspension void.
The European Parliament’s chief Brexit official says the latest proposals from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking a breakthrough in the stalled Brexit negotiations still fall well short of expectations on three key points.
Guy Verhofstadt said after a meeting with Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that U.K. proposals on how to better deal with the border between Ireland, which is in the European Union, and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland do not preserve consumer safety, do not protect EU businesses and would not preserve peace in the volatile region.
He wrote on Twitter “so far UK proposals fall short on all 3 fronts.”
The European Union says it is still waiting for useful proposals to come from Britain to unblock stalled negotiations on Britain’s departure terms from the bloc.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday that he is “still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal” from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but indicated insufficient progress had been achieved in the past few weeks.
Barnier said “we are still waiting,” underscoring the view that four papers over the past days fell far short to get real negotiations going again.
The EU already had a deal with the UK on departure terms but it was rejected in the British parliament. Johnson now wants to drastically renegotiate the agreement or leave without a deal on Oct. 31.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a backlash over his use of confrontational language in Parliament the day after suffering a broad defeat in the Supreme Court.
Johnson characterized an opposition bill mandating a Brexit extension as a “surrender bill,” and brushed off concerns that his language might endanger legislators as “humbug.”
Some in Parliament warned that his language was inflammatory and should be more cautious given the 2016 killing of legislator Jo Cox.
Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan tweeted that “we all need to remind ourselves of the effect of everything we say on those watching us.”
Johnson was criticized by members of several parties and by Cox’s widower.
Tempers have been inflamed in Parliament as the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline gets closer. Sessions will resume Thursday.