Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the European Union on Monday that the Brexit ball was in its court and that the bloc should now urgently discuss in detail his proposal for breaking the deadlock in talks ahead of Britain’s departure on Oct. 31.
With just 24 days to go before the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU, both sides are positioning themselves to avoid blame for a delay or a disorderly no-deal Brexit.
EU leaders reacted coolly to Johnson’s last-ditch proposals to bridge the impasse, indicating just how far apart the two sides are over the first departure of a sovereign state from the EU, which was forged from Europe’s ruins after World War Two.
“What we’re saying to our friends is (that) this is a very generous, fair and reasonable offer we’ve made. What we’d like to hear from you now is what your thoughts are,” Johnson told reporters.
“If you have issues with any of the proposals that we’ve come up with, then let’s get into the detail and discuss them,” he said, reiterating his position that the United Kingdom would leave the EU on Oct. 31.
At stake are the unity of the United Kingdom, global growth and the future shape of the European project.
Johnson has repeatedly vowed that Britain will leave the bloc on Oct. 31 and that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than seek any further extension of the departure date.
A law passed by his political opponents requires him to write to the EU requesting a delay if he has failed to agree a deal by Oct. 19, the day after an EU summit.
A Scottish court on Monday rejected a bid by campaigners seeking an order to force Johnson to ask for a Brexit delay, citing assurances given to the court by the government that it would comply with the law.