The European Commission has said it needs Britain to put forward “a workable solution now” ahead of next week’s summit of EU leaders with Brexit negotiations at a crucial stage, not “untried and revocable” arrangements at the Irish border.
EU leaders need time to prepare for the gathering, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva on Monday in Brussels said, after several EU leaders urged London to overhaul the proposal by the end of the week.
Britain is due to leave the EU at the end of the month, but there is huge uncertainty over the terms of its exit as London is pushing for last-minute changes to the current withdrawal agreement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson handed over his idea for an alternative to the backstop – the clause in the exit deal that aims to avoid a hard Irish border – to the EU executive last week.
But Brussels said the suggestions were unacceptable in their current form, while London insists the EU must now meet it halfway and offer concessions in return.
Talks continued on Monday on London’s proposal, with British Brexit negotiator David Frost meeting EU officials in Brussels, though both sides seemed to be digging their heels in.
Britain has made a “big important offer but it’s time for the commission to show a willingness to compromise too,” a British source in Brussels said.
If not, Britain will leave without a deal, the source added.