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British PM urges Brussels to 'grasp opportunity' with his new Brexit proposal

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-10-06 21:31
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday urged Brussels to "grasp the opportunity" offered by his new Brexit proposal, as he repeated his vow not to delay the UK's departure from the European Union (EU).

Writing in the Sun newspaper on Sunday, the prime minister insisted Britain will pack its bags and walk out on Oct 31, but said it remains to be seen whether Europe will "cheerily wave us off" with a deal.

In his latest article, Johnson described his blueprint for an agreement as a "practical compromise that gives ground where necessary", saying that it represents the UK "jumping to the island in the middle of the river".

"If we're to leave with a deal, we now need the EU to jump over from its side and join us there, showing its own willingness to do a deal that the UK Parliament can support," he said.

Earlier this month, Johnson said that his proposal will mean there was no need for checks or infrastructure at or near the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The plan, intended to replace the "backstop" agreement reached by London and Brussels when Theresa May was prime minister, aims to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland, with the introduction of two borders -- a customs frontier in Ireland and a regulatory frontier between the Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The prime minister's statement came as the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, poured scorn on the chances of the new proposal's success.

Barnier reportedly said at an event in Paris: "If they do not change, I do not believe, on the basis of the mandate I have been given by the EU27, that we can advance."

In comments reported by The Observer newspaper, he also reiterated the EU's claim that a no-deal outcome would "never be Europe's choice... it would always be the UK's choice, not ours".

Johnson vowed to take his country out of the European Union on Oct 31, with or without a deal.

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