EU officials are "sceptical" of progress in Luxembourg

Johnson's meeting with Juncker is widely expected to end in failure

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is meeting the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker,  today in what has been billed as a crunch meeting over Brexit.

The lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg takes place against the backdrop of growing political instability in London and deep uncertainty over the closing stages of Brexit.

Whilst last week British MPs voted to delay Brexit by three months, Johnson has given strong indications he is prepared to ignore the law in order to meet the Brexit deadline of October 31.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the PM said the UK will break out of the “manacles” of the European Union (EU) like the “Incredible Hulk”.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Johnson’s top aide, Dominic Cummings, told a meeting of government special advisors last Friday that 10 Downing Street maintains the option of suspending parliament for a second time, from October 14 to November 01, to get Brexit over the line.

Johnson is meeting Juncker and the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a climate of mutual mistrust where there is no sign that the main sticking point to a deal, namely the Irish border backstop, is anywhere near resolution.

The backstop is a position of last resort to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. If activated, it would involve Northern Ireland maintaining a close relationship with the EU for an indefinite period.

According to the BBC’s Brussels reporter, Adam Fleming, EU officials are skeptical of a breakthrough in today’s talks.

One EU official reportedly described the UK’s new proposals as “like last night’s mac and cheese with fresh parsley scattered on top”.  

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