EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has warned the risk of no deal remains “very real” – but said he’s prepared to work “day in, day out and morning until night” to strike a deal.
Speaking today Mr Juncker said there was still a “palpable” risk of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Speaking at the European Parliament following his meeting with Boris Johnson earlier this week, he said a no-deal Brexit “might be the choice of the UK, but it will never be ours.”
However he said the talks with the PM had been “friendly, constructive and, in part, positive”.
The main sticking point over a Brexit deal is the controversial Irish border backstop, which would require Britain to retain some EU trade rules.
He said: “I said to Prime Minister Johnson that I have no emotional attachment to the safety net, to the backstop, but I stated that I stand by the objectives that it is designed to achieve.
“That is why I called on the Prime Minister to come forward with operational proposals, in writing, for practical steps which would allow us to achieve those objectives.
“Until such time as those proposals have been presented I will not be able to tell you, looking you straight in the eye, that any real progress has been achieved.”
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Echoing Mr Juncker’s words Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he was willing to work “night and day” to get a deal with the UK.
He said the UK has spoken about what it dislikes about the backstop but has so far failed to propose an alternative solution.
Mr Barnier said that, three years after the EU referendum, the UK and EU should not be “pretending to negotiate” and needed to move forward.