London/Brussels, 19 September 2019 (dpa/MIA) – The European Commission said it had received documents from Britain on Thursday that outline the ideas it has floated to secure a deal to leave the European Union on October 31.
It will provide the basis for “technical discussions” on Thursday and for talks on Friday on customs, manufactured goods and sanitary rules, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.
The documents are “confidential technical non-papers which reflect the ideas the UK has been putting forward,” a British government spokesman said.
A “non-paper” normally raises diplomatic talking points, not concrete proposals.
“We will table formal written solutions when we are ready, not according to an artificial deadline,” the spokesman added, after the Finnish prime minister said London must produce proposals by the end of this month.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay earlier Thursday urged Brussels to show “creativity and flexibility” in the Brexit negotiations.
“A rigid approach now, at this point, is no way to progress a deal and the responsibility sits with both sides to find a solution,” Barclay told a business forum in Spain.
Finland’s premier Antti Rinne said late Wednesday, following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, that EU leaders “need to know what the UK is proposing” by the end of September.
Rinne said he and Macron “agreed that it is now time for [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to produce his own proposals in writing – if they exist.”
“If no proposals are received by the end of September, then it’s over,” he added. Finland currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
“The UK wants a deal… [but] the backstop has to go,” Barclay said on Thursday, referring to a provision to protect an open Irish border in the absence of other arrangements.
“Now we are committed to carving out a landing zone and we stand ready to share relevant texts,” he said. “But it must be in the spirit of negotiation with flexibility and with a negotiating partner that itself is willing to compromise.”
Conservative premier Johnson has vowed to withdraw Britain from the EU, with or without a deal, on October 31.
Opposition lawmakers have accused him of merely paying lip service to talks with Brussels.