Progress in next few days key to Brexit deal chances: Johnson

September 16, 2019 09:26
Boris Johnson says a deal with EU is still possible by the October 31 Brexit deadline. Photo: Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the next few days will be key to his chances of securing a Brexit deal, Reuters reports.

An agreement with the European Union is still his aim and a deal is still possible, the PM claimed.

“If we can make enough progress in the next few days, I intend to go to that crucial summit on Oct. 17, and finalize an agreement that will protect the interests of business and citizens on both sides of the (English) Channel, and on both sides of the border in Ireland,” Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“I believe passionately that we can do it, and I believe that such an agreement is in the interests not just of the UK but also of our European friends.”

Johnson has pledged to leave the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31, even though British lawmakers have passed a law which would force him to request a delay beyond that date if he is unable to reach a deal with the EU.

With less than seven weeks remaining until Britain is due to leave the EU, Johnson and his ministers have in recent days talked up progress in negotiations with Brussels, but the EU side has consistently sounded less optimistic, putting the emphasis on Britain to come up with new ideas, Reuters noted.

The future of the land border between EU member Ireland and British province Northern Ireland is the central issue of disagreement both between Johnson and the EU, and between Johnson and British members of parliament.

Since coming to power in July off the back of May’s resignation, Johnson has adopted a tougher negotiating stance, vowing that Britain will leave without a deal if it has to and stepping up preparations to mitigate possible food, fuel and medicine shortages attached to that outcome.

“It is not and never has been the outcome that I want, but our preparations are by now very extensive,” Johnson wrote. “Yes, there may be difficulties ahead, but we will overcome them all.”

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