Brexit: Statement by the European Commission following President Jean-Claude Juncker’s phone call with Prime Minister Johnson
President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke to Prime Minister Johnson on the phone yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 2 October. The Prime Minister informed the President about the contents of the UK’s latest proposal – which includes a legal text, explanatory note and letter from Prime Minister Johnson. The Commission issued a statement following the call (see here). President Juncker welcomed the positive advances in the UK’s text but also noted that there are problematic points in the proposal, on which further work is needed by the UK. President Juncker stressed that the Withdrawal Agreement must have a legally operational solution, not arrangements to be developed and agreed during the transition period. This solution must meet all the objectives of the backstop: preventing a hard border, preserving North-South cooperation and the all-island economy, and protecting the EU’s Single Market and Ireland’s place in it. President Juncker will speak to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon and will reiterate the EU’s continued unity and solidarity behind Ireland. Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, will debrief the EU27 Ambassadors in COREPER later this afternoon. The Commission is currently analysing the UK’s text and further meetings with the UK will be scheduled shortly.