On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a final Brexit offer to the European Union, pitching a possible comprise for a last-minute exit deal that was cautiously welcomed by the EU though the two sides still remain far apart.
Mr. Johnson urged Brussels to compromise but warned that if it did not then Britain would leave the EU without a deal on October 31. Apart from the concession, Mr. Johnson proposed giving Northern Ireland institutions the ongoing power to abide by or exit the regulatory zone, a possible step too far for Ireland and the EU. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed the move but mentioned some problems.
The Commission said in a statement, “There are still some problematic points that will need further work in the coming days, notably with regards to the governance of the backstop,” issued after Mr. Johnson and Mr. Juncker spoke on a call.
“The EU wants a deal. We remain united and ready to work 24/7 to make this happen – as we have been for over three years now,” it said. However, Irish British Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told Mr. Johnson that the proposals did not fully meet the agreed objectives.
With less than one month left until Britain is due to leave the EU which is being considered as the most significant geopolitical move since World War Two. It could leave with a deal or without a deal – or not leave at all.
According to Deutsche Bank, there is a 50 percent chance of a no-deal Brexit by the end of the year. This would spook financial markets, send shockwaves through the global economy, snarl ports on both sides of the Channel and divide the West.
The Britain President said he wants to get a deal at an Oct. 17-18 EU summit. His opponents passed a law that forced him to delay Brexit unless he strikes a deal. Mr. Johnson said that further delay was “pointless and expensive”.
Several diplomats said that there is a phony struggle between London and Brussels to apportion blame. “It’s a game of cat and mouse,” said one EU diplomat.
Raoul Ruparel, the former Europe adviser to Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, said the offer appeared unlikely to win over the EU. “I cannot see the EU and Ireland agreeing to these proposals, they may not even see them as a basis for negotiations,” he told Reuters.