Wed, 13 Nov 2019

Britain must deliver a written proposal for a solution to the Brexit impasse this month to avoid a no-deal Brexit, the Finnish prime minister Antti Rinne's office told AFP on Thursday.

It is "a view of prime minister Rinne that the UK must come up with a written proposal by the end of this month", a spokesperson said.

Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Rinne's statement comes a day after he met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, where he said that the EU is unlikely to grant an extension to the current October 31 deadline, and thus avoid a no-deal exit, unless London proposes concrete measures.

"Finland, nor I, nor the other 26 member states have much enthusiasm for an extension unless there is a sensible solution in sight for the future," Rinne said.

Rinne's office confirmed that he will speak with European Council president Donald Tusk by telephone to discuss the end of September deadline.

On Thursday a French diplomatic source told AFP that "time is running out" to reach a Brexit accord, warning that it will not be possible to negotiate "directly" at the next European Council meeting in mid-October.

The 28 EU leaders are due to meet on October 17 and 18 in Brussels, less than two weeks ahead of the scheduled Brexit date of October 31.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Thursday morning that he will meet EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday.

"The Prime Minister returned from talks with President (Jean-Claude) Juncker in Luxembourg on Monday with assurances that negotiations will intensify," Barclay said in a speech in Madrid.

"I also met with Michel Barnier at the same time and I will meet him again tomorrow," he said.

According to a European source, the Brexit timetable will also be discussed at a meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Juncker on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.

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