EU is losing patience with Britain, warns Dutch minister

EU is losing patience with Britain, warns Dutch minister

Boris Johnson’s claims to be conducting a Brexit renegotiation have come under fresh doubt as the UK’s closest EU ally expressed alarm at the “breathtaking” developments in Westminster and the government’s failure to table alternatives to the Irish backstop, The Guardian reports.

The Dutch minister for trade, Sigrid Kaag, described the scenes being played out in London as “unbelievable” and warned of the EU’s waning patience given the impact on European businesses of the continued uncertainty.

Johnson committed in early August in discussions with EU leaders to swiftly tabling an alternative solution to the Irish backstop, which would temporarily keep Northern Ireland in the single market and the UK in a customs union to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

In an interview with the Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad, Kaag warned that given the damage caused to European businesses, rebel MPs seeking to delay Brexit would need to tie it to a general election or second referendum to be sure of securing an extension of UK membership of the EU beyond 31 October.

“At a point enough is enough,” Kaag said. “At that stage the certainty of deterioration might be better than continuing without perspective. At a certain point there must be clarity. A good reason is needed for a new delay. What? It is difficult to say categorically. You have to see the context and see if there is a realistic expectation that this will lead to a follow-up phase. But so far, the British have not presented an alternative to the Brexit agreement that is already in place.”