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'It's up to UK': Macron says Brexit is Britain's domestic crisis not Europe's

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'It's up to UK': Macron says Brexit is Britain's domestic crisis not Europe's
AFP: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA /
16:50 CEST+02:00
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday warned Britain that Brexit was a "British domestic crisis" and it would have to take responsibility for how it leaves the European Union.

"Brexit is a British domestic crisis, not a European one," Macron said, adding that what was important now was to finalise negotiations and see if there was "something that I hope could fly." 

But he added: "At the very end this is a British responsiblity" on whether it leaves the EU with or without a deal or even cancels the Brexit process outright.

Macron said it was time to resolve the issue as "we have already spent a lot of time" on discussing Brexit and the priority now was to discuss Britain's future relationship with the EU.

"We have to prepare the future," he said, speaking in English in the French city of Lyon.

Time is running out to sign off on any agreement at an October 17-18 EU summit, ahead of Britain's scheduled departure from the bloc at the end of the month after nearly five decades of membership.

Macron's comments came just before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said they could see a "pathway" towards striking a possible Brexit divorce deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron has given Boris Johnson until the end of the week to come up with a proposal that is acceptable to the European Union.

After a phone call with Johnson at the weekend Macron "indicated that the negotiations should continue rapidly in the coming days, with the team of (France's EU negotiator Michel Barnier), in order to evaluate at the end of next week whether an accord is possible, while respecting the principles of the European Union," the statement said.

London hinted Sunday that it could soften its position on "problematic" aspects of its Brexit plan, while calling on the EU to show "flexibility".

Difficult discussions on Brexit are set to resume Monday between the British and the Europeans, who have broadly rejected Johnson's bid to avoid a "no-deal" Brexit on October 31st.

Macron will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a working dinner Sunday, just days before 
an EU summit seen as the last chance for reaching a deal on Britain's looming exit from the bloc.

The two leaders will meet to prepare a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a traditional gathering between their governments that will take place this year in the southwest French city of Toulouse.

The next day EU leaders will gather in Brussels for what is billed as a pivotal meeting for hammering out the divorce terms for Brexit, set for the end of this month.

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that a deal on Britain's withdrawal was "very difficult but possible" to achieve before next week's summit.

 
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