Boris Johnson failed to achieve a “New York breakthrough” on Brexit in a meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk.
The British Prime Minister had downplayed his chances of securing a new deal ahead of meetings with key EU leaders during the United Nations General Assembly.
After leaving their bilateral meeting on Monday, Mr Tusk lamented that there had been “no breakthrough” and that there is “no time to lose” with the October 31 deadline looming.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) September 23, 2019
The PM had told Mr Tusk that the UK needs “to see movement and flexibility from the EU” in order to reach a deal, according to Downing Street.
An EU source said the meeting was “sincere and open” but stressed that there were “big gaps in substance”.
“If there is to be a deal, there is little time left, although no formal deadline.
“The EU will need realistic, operational proposals in legal form,” the source continued.
“The UK non-papers do not meet the objectives of the backstop.”
Those “non-papers” shared by the UK focus on the agri-food zone, customs issues and on manufactured goods.
The PM then met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said it is difficult to see how the impasse over the Northern Ireland backstop can be overcome.