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Brexit: UK offers no solution to replace backstop, says EU

Brexit: UK offers no solution to replace backstop, says EU

Luxembourg: Britain has not proposed any workable alternatives to its Brexit withdrawal agreement, the EU said Monday after talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended without a breakthrough.

It said the meeting between Johnson and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker failed to yield any alternative to proposals on the Northern Ireland border that the British leader has rejected.

Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the bloc by the scheduled date of October 31, though parliament has ordered him not to do so without striking a deal with Brussels first.

Businesses and opponents of Brexit say leaving without a deal will cause economic chaos as Britain ends its open trade ties to the European Union after 46 years. After a weekend in which he compared himself to comic book super-smasher Hulk, the British leader enjoyed a genteel working lunch of chicken and pollock with Juncker in Luxembourg.

Downing Street billed the Luxembourg visit as part of efforts to negotiate an orderly divorce from the union before an October 17 EU summit.

It insisted it had been a "constructive meeting" and said the two sides had agreed to step up the pace of talks with daily meetings between negotiators.

But the commission gave a more sober assessment, saying that once again the UK had failed to come up with a viable alternative to the so-called Irish "backstop" border arrangement.

"President Juncker recalled that it is the UK's responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement," a statement from Juncker's office said.

"President Juncker underlined the Commission's continued willingness and openness to examine whether such proposals meet the objectives of the backstop. Such proposals have not yet been made."

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