Boris Johnson had alarm bells ringing in EU with maiden speech – ‘Trying to pin blame’

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BORIS JOHNSON sparked concerns in the European Union during his first speech as Prime Minister due to two proposals he made, BBC reporter Damian Grammaticas claimed.

Boris Johnson delivered his maiden speech as Prime Minister minutes after receiving his mandate to form a new Government from the Queen. BBC reporter Damian Grammaticas warned the European Union could consider some of the statements Mr Johnson made in his speech as a “threat” to the future of the Brexit process. Mr Grammaticas said: “There are a couple of things the EU will welcome – the idea that Mr Johnson wants a partnership that’s close with the EU, that he wants to guarantee the rights of citizens.

“What will really have set alarm bells ring was when he said a couple of things.

“When he said that if the EU somehow refuses to negotiate with the UK and the UK is ‘forced’ to leave with no deal, to the EU’s ears that will sound as if he’s trying to shift and pin the blame on the EU for any failure in negotiations.”

Mr Johnson has long insisted he will seek to pressure Brussels into agreeing to changes to the withdrawal agreement Parliament has refuses the pass through the Commons three times.

Top EU figures, including Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, have repeatedly dismissed calls for renegotiations.

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Mr Grammaticas also suggested a second extract of Mr Johnson’s speech may not go down well with top Eurocrats despite their wishes for “constructive” talks.

The BBC reporter continued: “The second thing as well that will go down very, very badly is the idea that the £39 billion which would be paid to meet the financial obligations in the EU in an exit deal, that could be lubrication for a no deal exit.

“In the EU’s view that would have the effect of tearing up agreements already made with the UK and the UK walking away from its financial obligations to the EU.

“To the EU that will sound like very threatening talk which will not be welcome at all.”

Mr Johnson had previously claimed he could withhold the £39 billion divorce bill the British Government had agreed to paid to cover obligations the UK had committed to during membership. 

The now-Prime Minister said earlier this month: “I think our friends and partners need to understand that the money is going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward.

“I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire cheque before having a final deal.”

He echoed his previous warning during his first speech in front of Number 10 on Wednesday: “Don’t forget that in the event of a no deal outcome, we will have the extra lubrication of the £39 billion.

“And whatever deal we do we will prepare this autumn for an economic package to boost British business and to lengthen this country’s lead as the number one destination in this continent for overseas investment.

He continued: “To all those who continue to prophesy disaster, I say yes – there will be difficulties, though I believe that with energy and application they will be far less serious than some have claimed.

“But if there is one thing that has really sapped the confidence of business over the last three years, it is not the decisions we have taken – it is our refusal to take decisions.

“And to all those who say we cannot be ready, I say do not underestimate this country.”

Asked if he had a clearer idea of what Britain wants after the speech, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “No. We are ready to listen and to work with him in a constructive way. We will wait for the new decision, the new declarations of the UK government.

“I met Boris Johnson once. We spoke once in the past. It was a very particular moment during the opening ceremony of the Olympics of London, fantastic games, so we are waiting now.

“We will work, we are ready, we will work. I think he is clever. I’m at the disposal of the union. We are ready to work.”

Mr Johnson went on to almost entirely wipe out the Cabinet of predecessor Theresa May as 16 members were either asked to leave or resigned. Brexiteer Sajid Javid, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab took on their reins of the Treasury, Home Office and Foreign Office Respectively. 

To the EU that will sound like very threatening talk which will not be welcome at all

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