Is Le Brexit Progressing? Europe says ‘Nein’, ‘no’, ‘no’

After rising too quickly and some British newspapers boiling over a supposed Brexit victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Europe’s energy brokers had a more sobering message: the basic divorce agreement is not changing.

The UK voted to leave the European Union, the outcome of the tumultuous Brexit crisis remains unclear, with options ranging from an acrimonious rupture on October 31.

Enter Prime Minister Johnson, an unlicensed Brexiteer whose threat of a ‘no deal’ messy exit will convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU must give him the divorce deal he wants.

The Withdrawal Agreement struck last year by then Prime Minister Theresa May would not change much. And time is ticking.

On his first foreign trip as prime minister, the response from Germany and France was polite but firm.

“I want to be very clear,” Macron said.

In Berlin, Merkel used a dizzying remark about finding a response in “30 days” to underscore just how little time was left before the October 31 Brexit deadline and how complex the puzzle of the Irish border was.

Johnson, who allowed himself to put one of his feet on a coffee table at the Elysee Palace in a light moment with Macron, praised Europe for “positive noise”.

Sterling, who is poised for Brexit divorce, made his biggest jump on three months on Thursday after some investors bet that even the prospect of any Brexit deal meant a deal could be reached.

But in Berlin, Paris and Brussels, he was surprised by the interpretation that there had been a major shift in EU policy.

By 1100 GMT on Friday, investors were reassessing whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made any headway. Sterling, which jumped more than 1% against the dollar on Thursday.

Johnson’s main demand is for the EU to scrap the Irish border background – an insurance policy that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU unless a better solution is found to keep Ireland’s 500km border ( 300 miles) with the British province of northern Irlanada.

Johnson and the Northern Ireland party see their backs as a threat to UK unity – and their political survival.

As the backdrop would keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU single market rules.

Britain says there must be a better solution, though it is not yet one.

But part of the problem is that there is a suspicion in Europe that Johnson is using Brexit diplomacy to establish a potentially winning vote confrontation with the EU ahead of a possible British election.

Rather, as the EU’s policy has been for some time, the changes would be addressed in the non-binding declaration on future ties.

Merkel is keen to ensure that the EU is not seen as ready to speak but is equally keen to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement.

Berlin was impressed that Johnson had been serious and publicly acknowledged that if there was progress, London would have come up with a way to resolve the Irish border issue.

In Paris, a diplomatic source said Macron was trying to appear constructive – but had not changed his attitude.

France’s position, the source said, was that discussions were possible within the recognition that the basic principles of the Withdrawal Agreement remain the protection of the EU’s single market and political stability in Ireland.

So has there been a change in the EU’s position? “No,” said one official. “There is no difference.”

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