No Brexit deal, no transition without Irish backstop – EU negotiator Barnier

The EU will not conclude an exit agreement with Britain or give London a transition period after Brexit without a deal that prevents a “hard” border in Ireland, the bloc’s main negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Tuesday. At a joint news conference with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini in Bratislava, Barnier said he would seek to agree the whole 100 percent of a draft Brexit accord with London, Reuters reported. “We are still not at the 100 percent,” Barnier said, adding that “what is missing is a solution for the issue of Ireland.” The negotiator said: “Without an operational backstop there will not be an accord and there will not be a transition period. That is certain.” Barnier said the EU was working to improve its offer for the , or an emergency fix to keep the Irish border open regardless of Brexit consequences. “It must be applicable unless and until another solution is found,” he said.