Brexit deal 'very difficult' - but door still open, European Union tells Britain

Marco Green
October 10, 2019

"The prime minister and the Taoiseach will meet tomorrow at lunchtime in the north west of England to discuss Brexit", a spokesperson for Johnson's Downing Street office said, referring to the Irish leader.

The move comes after Leo Varadkar said it will be "very difficult" to reach a deal, given the "wide difference" between the UK's proposals to replace the backstop mechanism for maintaining an open Irish border and the EU's position.

With Britain due to leave the bloc on 31 October, the comments by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were aimed more at sidestepping any blame for the final outcome rather than signalling a deal was in the making.

The publication cites UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's allies as accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel of rendering a Brexit deal "essentially impossible".

The date is also the deadline by which the Prime Minister must comply with the so-called Benn Act, by writing to Brussels asking for a Brexit delay until 31 January, should he have failed to strike an agreement.

"I think it is going to be very hard to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly".

"She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the Customs Union", the source told media.

"Unfortunately, no bold new offer is coming from the European Union side at this stage", an European Union official said.

As it stood, he continued, the United Kingdom was proposing replacing an "operable, practical and legal solution" to avoid a hard Irish border with "one that is simply a temporary solution".

Each side's plan is rejected by the other, and the EU Summit - where any deal would have to be signed off - is just a week away.

With chances of a deal receding, focus was turning back to British domestic politics, where Johnson is under intense pressure from opponents to delay Brexit.

For more analysis, read BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg's blog.

He will say: "This government isn't going to put any legislation before Parliament. holding a Queen's Speech before an election is a cynical stunt".

Timeline: What's happening ahead of Brexit deadline?

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay will meet his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels on Friday, with the visit put back 24 hours following Johnson's hastily arranged meeting with Varadkar.

Monday 14 October - The Commons is due to return, and the government will use the Queen's Speech to set out its legislative agenda.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday meet his Irish counterpart for last-ditch Brexit talks, with just days left to strike an European Union divorce deal and both sides blaming each other for an impasse.

The prime minister has until October 19th to agree on an exit treaty with the bloc or be forced by the Benn Act to seek another delay.

Johnson will sit down with Ireland's leader Leo Varadkar at an undisclosed location in northwest England for crunch conversations following several days of recriminations over the failure to find a compromise.

According to the Mirror, the UK Prime Minister is responsible for the current breakdown in Brexit negotiations, as he is "accused of sabotage".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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