European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says the risk of Britain leaving the European Union without a divorce deal remains “very real.”
Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Juncker, who met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, said a no-deal Brexit “might be the choice of the U.K., but it will never be ours.”
The European Parliament is debating Brexit on Wednesday and is set to adopt a resolution laying out its concerns.
The main sticking point over a Brexit deal is the Irish border backstop, which would require Britain to retain some EU trade rules.
Juncker said “I have no sentimental attachment to the backstop” but that he remains attached to the purpose it serves. He says “I asked the British prime minister to specify the alternative arrangements that he could envisage.”
Court case continues
In Britain, the Supreme Court was set to resume its historic hearing to determine whether Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was illegal. Judges must determine if Johnson overstepped his authority by suspending Parliament for a five-week period during the run-up to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.
The government’s opponents argue that Johnson illegally shut down Parliament just weeks before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc for the “improper purpose” of dodging lawmakers’ legitimate scrutiny of his Brexit plans.
They also accused Johnson of misleading Queen Elizabeth, whose formal approval was needed to suspend the legislature. The government claims the suspension was routine, not related to Brexit and a matter for politicians, not the court.