Britain entered another crucial day of negotiations Tuesday to reach an agreement with the European Union three weeks ahead of October 31, the day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to pull the UK out of the bloc with or without a deal.
On Monday, the UK’s chief Brexit official David Frost was in Brussels and Brexit minister Steve Barclay visited the Netherlands in an attempt to drum up support for Johnson’s proposal that Northern Ireland leaves the customs union along with the rest of the UK, but remains in the single market for goods.
But the response in Dublin has been cool on the plan, with Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was preparing to present a no deal Brexit plan on Tuesday, outlining plans to insulate the country if Britain leaves the EU without an agreement.
The Irish government has previously warned that as many as 80,000 jobs are at risk in Ireland if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, and business leaders have called for “decisive and far-reaching intervention” to prevent the economy from grinding to a halt.
On Sunday, Emmanuel Macron told the UK prime minister by phone that the EU wanted to determine swiftly whether a deal was possible. The EU wants plenty of time to plan its approach ahead of a crucial European Council summit on October 17-18.
Johnson told the French president the EU should not be lured into believing the UK would stay in the bloc after October 31.