But many European officials have dismissed Johnson’s proposals as a non-starter. With just over three weeks to go until the latest Brexit deadline of October 31, time is running out for Britain and the EU to negotiate a new agreement. The next summit of EU leaders is on October 17 and 18, and if anything is to be rubber-stamped at that meeting, the details will need to be nailed down well in advance. If the PM doesn’t get a deal by October 19, he is obliged by law to seek a new extension to the Brexit process. But Johnson has long maintained that he would take the UK out of the European Union on October 31 “do or die.” More than three years after the UK voted to leave the EU, and six months after it was first due to leave, a reckoning is fast approaching. Here are three ways the next three weeks could pan out.
Can Johnson get a deal?
The Prime Minister’s new offer to Brussels centers on changes to the controversial “Irish backstop” — the section of the previously negotiated Withdrawal Agreement that aims to prevent the return of border posts on the frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That’s been a red line for the EU since Brexit negotiations began.
Johnson concedes that under his new plan, some customs checks will be needed after Brexit, but suggested these can be done on a “decentralized basis.” The plan has received a cool reaction from the European side, but at least they now have something to talk about. The trouble is, it’s hard to see the talks going far.