Boris Johnson is due to meet with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and European Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier Monday, as he seeks to extract himself from his Brexit bind by arranging a new deal with the bloc for the October 31st departure date.
The talks between the leaders follow others already conducted by British diplomats in Brussels this week, and will take place in Brussels at lunchtime on Monday. While Mr Johnson hopes the talks wil herald a breakthrough he can take home, top European figures seem less optimistic.
Embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives the impression of being a leader boxed into a corner by his enemies: while he has promised Brexit “do or die” on October 31st to the British people, the nation’s Parliament remains determined to use its power to block him. The House of Commons, which is wildly out of tune with voters on the matter of Brexit and is pursuing a no-holds-barred anti-withdrawal strategy, last week voted to make it illegal for the Prime Minister to take the country out of Europe.
This leaves Mr Johnson in a difficult situation — to keep his promise to the British people he must get a new deal from Europe to satisfy Parliament, or else leave the Union without a deal. The European Union has repeatedly insisted they have no interest in renegotiation, and sensationalist anti-Brexit activists have spoken of even having the Prime Minister arrested if he defies the will of Parliament to make Brexit happen.
While such an extreme course of action seems unlikely and would have far-reaching constitutional repercussions, the discussion surrounding Brexit illustrates the extremely febrile environment and utter determination felt by remainers to prevent the results of the 2016 referendum being implemented.
Despite the clear optimism felt by the Prime Minister, European leaders continued to pour doubt on the talks. The Associated Press reported:
A German radio station is reporting that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he isn’t optimistic about finding alternatives to the Irish border provision that has become a main sticking point in the Brexit stalemate.
Deutschlandfunk radio said in a preview Friday of an interview with Juncker being broadcast Sunday that Juncker hopes for alternative proposals but says “time is getting short.” He stressed anew that reopening the previously reached Brexit withdrawal agreement isn’t possible.
Juncker is meeting Monday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who insists that Britain must leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
Deutschlandfunk reported Juncker said a disorderly no-deal Brexit would cause chaos and it would take years to put right. He added: “Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”