While Downing Street has described the meeting between the Prime Minister and European Commissioner as ‘constructive’, the European Commission has said that no solution to the backstop has been presented yet.
While the EU has said that it is interested in exploring options with the UK, the backstop would remain as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border with the UK.
Both leaders said that from now on discussions between both sides, ‘needed to intensify’ and thus meetings, ‘would soon take place on a daily basis.’
The Prime Minister insisted that there would be no request to extend the UK’s departure from the UK beyond October 31st.
The Commission, in turn, said that the meeting was intended to ‘take stock’ and proceed with the ‘next steps’.
‘President Juncker recalled that it is the UK’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the withdrawal agreement. Such proposals have not yet been made.’ the Commission said adding that, it would ‘remain available to work 24/7’.
The Commission concluded its statement by saying that, ‘the EU27 remain united’.
Downing Street’s statement explained that the Prime Minister was determined to protect the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland and that he was determined, ‘to reach a deal with the backstop removed, that UK parliamentarians could support.’
Joining Johnson and Juncker were Michael Barnier, the EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator and UK Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.
UK PM to tell EC President, ‘no further delays beyond 31st October’
There will be no further delays beyond the 31st October, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to tell European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker this lunchtime.
According to a source speaking to the BBC ahead of today’s meeting in Luxembourg, the Prime Minister was intent on reaching a deal with the EC President but if no deal could be struck by the 18th October, ‘his policy is to leave without a deal on October 31 – and reject any delay offered by the EU.’
Johnson’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab explained that he was seeking a deal that had ‘some finality’. This however did not involve plans to remove the Irish Backstop, former Minister David Gauke said.
The Prime Minister’s comments over the deal with the EU comes just after Mr Johnson likened the UK’s exit from the bloc to the comic book character The Hulk, escaping even the most constricting of containment.
There are also rumours that the Prime Minister is considering a scheme for Northern Ireland to remain closer to the European Union as a way or removing the current Irish Backstop arrangement from the deal.
Johnson explained that such deals with the EU were not far off, he wrote in the UK Daily Telegraph today.
‘If we can make enough progress in the next few days, I intend to go to that crucial summit… and finalise an agreement that will protect the interests of business and citizens on both sides of the channel, and on both sides of the border in Ireland.’
Former Minister David Gauke contested however that there lacked ‘detailed proposals … It still remains the case the UK government has not produced detailed proposals as to how it wants to replace the Irish backstop.’
Rubbishing for further demands
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that the Backstop had to be removed and the trading agreement with the EU had to be improved.
He added that while much of the detail had already been discussed, ‘there will be a tendency to rubbish things we put forward in order to exact further demands. We are not going to get involved in that.’