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WorldBoris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker meeting 'constructive,' says UK government

18:40  16 september  2019
18:40  16 september  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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European Commission President Jean - Claude Juncker , right, poses UK says 'ignore the noise'. Downing Street said Johnson had used the meeting to repeat his A UK government source said that despite the bad headlines from the abandoned press conference, the day had been constructive .

Boris Johnson will meet Jean - Claude Juncker for the first time on Monday as DUP sources signaled that they had softened their Brexit position. The Prime Minister said he was “cautiously optimistic” ahead of the working lunch in Luxembourg

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ducked out of a press conference with his counterpart in Luxembourg to avoid anti-Brexit protests nearby, in an extraordinary diplomatic dust-up between the two nations.

Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker meeting 'constructive,' says UK government© Pool/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG - SEPTEMBER 16: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker greets British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the European Commission Representation on September 16, 2019 in Luxembourg. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is holding his first meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in search of a Brexit deal. (Photo by Francisco Seco - Pool/Getty Images)

Johnson had been due to make a statement alongside the Luxembourg leader Xavier Bettel, but expressed concerns that they would be drowned out by chanting protesters. Bettel went ahead with the press conference anyway, and officials did not remove Johnson's podium.

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Mr Juncker said he had a feeling that many UK MPs and government ministers believed negotiating trade deals was easy. But, he said , it would take But he said he didn't think there would be a second referendum. Image copyright EPA. Image caption Shaking on it - Boris Johnson and Jean - Claude

Прямой эфир: 17 окт. 2019 г. Boris Johnson and Jean - Claude Juncker hold a press conference on the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and EU. Telegraph.co. uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Telegraph, the UK 's best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis

Bettel excoriated Johnson, saying the Brexit process had turned into a "nightmare" and that the UK had failed to present alternative proposals to the deal it had negotiated, but now rejects.

"He holds the future of all UK citizens," said an impassioned Bettel, gesturing at the empty podium by his side. "It's his responsibility. Your people, our people count on you."

The British government requested an indoor press conference to avoid the pair being drowned out by Remain-supporting protesters, but that offer was rejected, a UK government source said, requesting anonymity to discuss diplomatic arrangements. Luxembourg officials insisted on doing it outside with two podiums, the source said.

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Johnson was in Luxembourg for his first face-to-face Brexit talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He was booed as he arrived at the restaurant where the talks were being held.

Later, after meeting Bettel at the government buildings in Luxembourg, Johnson left without addressing the assembled media.

On Sunday Johnson had said that the UK could break free of the EU's "manacles" like Marvel superhero the Hulk, but Bettel said Brexit was "too serious a matter to speak about actors and a script."

Bettel went on to say that Brexit was not the choice of the EU but that of the UK's Conservative government. "You can't hold our future hostage for party political gains," he said, adding: "I repeat this Brexit is not my choice."

Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker meeting 'constructive,' says UK government© Pool/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) poses with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson's spokesperson had earlier said that talks between Johnson and Juncker, the first time the pair have met since Johnson took office in July, were "constructive" and that the UK PM had proposed an alternative solution to the Irish backstop -- a sticking point in the ongoing Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union.

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On 17 October 2019 the EU and the UK agreed to a revised Brexit deal, hours before EU leaders were due to meet in Brussels for a summit. Jean - Claude Juncker

Boris Johnson has said he believes ‘passionately’ that a new Brexit deal can be struck with Brussels as he prepares to hold his first face-to-face talks as PM with Jean - Claude Juncker . The Prime Minister will travel to Luxembourg on Monday where he will warn the European Commission president he will

It is not yet clear what the UK's proposed backstop arrangements are and Juncker was less optimistic following Monday's working lunch in Luxembourg, pointing out that the EU was still waiting to hear of a workable alternative to the controversial Northern Ireland backstop plan.

In a statement following the talks, Juncker said the aim of the meeting was to "take stock" of the ongoing Brexit negotiations and to discuss the "next steps."

The Commission President said it was "the UK's responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement," adding: "such proposals have not yet been made."

"The Commission will remain available to work 24/7," Juncker's statement continued. "The EU27 remain united."

Downing Street said Johnson had used the meeting to repeat his assertion that he will not request an extension to the October 31 deadline for Britain's departure from the European Union.

"The leaders agreed that the discussions needed to intensify and that meetings would soon take place on a daily basis," Johnson's spokesperson said.

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The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said Boris Johnson 's plans will see Northern Ireland "in a different The Commission's president, Jean - Claude Juncker will talk to the PM on the phone later, while The government has insisted it will not negotiate a further delay beyond the Halloween deadline, saying

Jean - Claude Juncker said the European commission decided not to get involved on the advice of David Cameron. Juncker said that had been a big mistake, adding: “So many lies were told, including by current prime minister, Boris Johnson , that there needed to be a voice to counter them.”

"It was agreed that talks should also take place at a political level between Michel Barnier and the Brexit Secretary, and conversations would also continue between President Juncker and the Prime Minister," the PM's spokesperson added.

The backstop plan, aimed at avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is designed to come into force if the complex issue of the Irish border has not been resolved by the time the Brexit transition period -- which keeps the UK in a customs union with the EU -- ends in 2020.

The Downing Street statement added that Johnson "reconfirmed his commitment" to the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which helped bring about peace in Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence, and that he still had a "determination to reach a deal with the backstop removed."

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