A source in the British government told the BBC that "there will be no deal today until the end of the day." At the same time, the parties continue negotiations on technical details; from leaks during the day, it seemed that many of the contentious issues, including the customs regime on the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (remained within the EU), they were able to agree.
The head of the EU delegation, Michel Barnier, who was caught in the evenings by journalists on the sidelines, threw only: “We work, we work” – and went to his car.
The agreement was supposed to be approved at the EU summit on October 17-18.
There are quite a few options for the further development of events, since in the Brexit saga there are many actors with very different interests, and the laws describing the state structure and the rights of the British branches of power are formulated extremely slurred.
According to the law, which in early September passed a majority in the British parliament opposed to Johnson, the prime minister is obliged to ask the EU to postpone Brexit until January 31, 2020, if he fails to draft an exit agreement with the EU and pass it through Parliament.
Johnson constantly repeats that he will not ask for a respite. According to Johnson’s opponents, the only legal way to do this is to conclude an agreement with the EU and submit it to parliament for approval (or to get parliament’s consent for a hard break with the EU, but this is impossible).
On Saturday, October 19, the government planned an emergency meeting of the House of Commons. These plans are still subject to change.
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There are suggestions from Brussels on the sidelines that EU leaders at the summit on October 17-18 can simply give delegations a few more days to agree on a new exit agreement and schedule an emergency summit dedicated exclusively to Brexit at the very end of October – as it was already this spring, when The EU eventually gave Britain a reprieve until October 31.
This, however, does not abolish the provision of British law: either the agreement by October 19, or a request for deferment.
In addition, if negotiations are delayed until the very end of October, this will finally make the postponement inevitable for technical reasons: the draft agreement needs to be carried out through the parliaments of Britain and the EU, and this takes time.
By the way, the EU can offer Britain a postponement for a longer period than before the end of January 2020 – and the Prime Minister, according to the adopted law, will have to agree.