WORLD Finnish PM pessimistic about Brexit after meeting EU chief Brexit negotiator

WORLD

Finnish PM pessimistic about Brexit after meeting EU chief Brexit negotiator

Xinhua

17:08, September 28, 2019

HELSINKI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said Friday he does not see any breakthrough in Brexit, after meeting with European Union (EU)'s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

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A man holds an European Union and British flags during a protest against Brexit in Malaga on September 22, 2019. (VCG)

Talking to Finnish journalists in Brussels, Rinne said that the EU countries are prepared to negotiate, but in "such a way that the position of Ireland must not be disadvantaged in comparison with the agreement on Brexit already negotiated."

Britain has not yet given the "expected, concrete suggestions," the prime minister said.

Rinne said it is sensible to grant a three-month Brexit extension if a request from Britain comes. Talking to national broadcaster Yle, Rinne said the EU is not likely to unilaterally grant an extension without a British request.

Rinne said he wondered though if an extension "will be of any avail," saying the political situation in Britain raises concern.

Rinne also commented on his joint initiative last week with French President Emmanuel Macron that London should give its ideas no later than Sept. 30.

Rinne said that the date was given in order to give the EU enough time to assess the judicial content. "If suggestions had arrived by the end (of) September, which appears not to happen," there would possibly be enough time to assess their impact, he said.

As the prime minister of the presidency country of the Council of the EU, Rinne said he is allowed to carry out discussion aimed at achieving an outcome that would be smart for the Finns and all Europeans.

There has been criticism among Finnish opposition parties about Rinne's actions about Brexit talks.

Finland took over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in early July.

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