0951 GMT October 15, 2019
“President Juncker recalled that it is the UK’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement,” the European Commission said in a statement after the two men lunched in Luxembourg, Reuters reported.
“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.”
Johnson met the EU chief for talks insisting a Brexit deal is possible, despite deep skepticism from European capitals with just six weeks to go before departure day.
Downing Street confidently billed the Luxembourg visit as part of efforts to negotiate an orderly divorce from the union before an October 17 EU summit.
As he shook hands with Johnson, Juncker declared himself "cautiously optimistic" and insisted that "Europe never loses patience" despite the tortuous Brexit saga dragging on over three years, AFP reported.
Finland's European Affairs Minister Tytti Tuppurainen, who was chairing an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels, gave a more downbeat assessment, repeating the bloc's long-standing complaint that London has simply not come up with detailed ideas for replacing the so-called "Irish backstop" section of the divorce deal.
"The European Union is always ready to negotiate when a proper proposal from the UK side is presented," Tuppurainen said.
"So far I haven't seen any proposal that would compensate the backstop."
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who joined the leaders for their talks in Juncker's native Grand Duchy, said last week he has "no reason to be optimistic".
The European Parliament will this week vote on a resolution rejecting Johnson's demand that the backstop clause be stripped from the deal.