After three years of crisis in London and tortuous negotiations with the EU, a crucial week of last-ditch talks could decide whether Brexit is orderly, acrimonious or delayed yet again.
Johnson says he wants an exit deal with the EU to allow an orderly departure on Oct. 31 but that if one is not possible he will lead the United Kingdom out of the club it joined in 1973 without a deal, though a law demands he delay.
“A deal is possible and it is possible this month, maybe even this week but we are not there yet,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, so I hope we can make more progress today,” Coveney said as he arrived at a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg.
The pound was down 0.6% at $1.2568, the day’s low. Against the euro, the British currency was also 0.6% weaker at 87.76 pence.
Ever since voters shocked the world by opting for Brexit in a 2016 referendum, Britain’s leaders have failed to find a divorce deal that is acceptable to parliament which is due to sit in an extraordinary session on Saturday.
EU and British negotiators met over the weekend in attempt to reach a breakthrough. EU ministers then meet in Luxembourg before leaders hold a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday when they could sign off on any deal that might be reached or even discuss offering Britain an extension.
Johnson, who will set out his legislative agenda in the state opening of parliament on Monday, hopes he can deal strike a deal before the EU summit. But he must then face parliament on Saturday the first such sitting since the Falklands War in 1982.
To get a done deal, Johnson must master the complexities of the Irish border riddle before getting the approval of Europe’s biggest powers and then sell any deal to the parliament in which he has no majority and which he suspended unlawfully last month.