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A Cautious Welcome or Just More Posturing

Outgoing EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has ‘acknowledged the positive advances’ in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement proposals but also added ‘further work’ was needed.

He will now speak to Irish PM Leo Varadkar about the potential changes to the backstop, which aims to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

In a statement, the European Commission said Mr Juncker spoke to Mr Johnson on the phone on Wednesday afternoon following the publication of the UK’s offer.

The statement said Mr Juncker welcomed the PM's ‘determination to advance the talks ahead of the October European Council and make progress towards a deal’.

He labelled the move towards full regulatory alignment for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain as “positive”.

Earlier Mr Johnson had called on the EU to avoid a "failure of statecraft" as he unveiled his long-awaited plan to replace the Irish backstop.

There seems to be some positivity coming from the House of Commons as well so we – along with a great many others around the UK – can only hope that the posturing will come to an end and everybody, on both sides of the Channel, can get on with their lives.

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