The European Union is preparing for either a no-deal Brexit or another delay if Boris Johnson becomes Britain’s prime minister next week.
In a report by Reuters, the three-year Brexit crisis could deepen as Johnson's pledge to leave the EU "do or die", with or without a deal, on 31st October sets Britain on a collision course with the bloc's 27 other leaders and his own parliament.
Mounting concern about the prospective impact on the $18.7 trillion EU economy has forced European capitals to increase pressure on Ireland to accelerate preparations for a no-deal exit that could agitate financial market stability and interrupt trade.
"If they come and ask us to renegotiate the Brexit deal, we will say, 'Thanks, but no thanks'," said an EU diplomat involved in what is now three years of talks since the 2016 referendum in which Britons voted 52% to 48% to leave the bloc.
Both UK leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have said they were not willing to accept the so-called Irish backstop element of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, even if a time limit were set.
But EU leaders want to move on from Brexit and say much will depend on how Johnson, who has cast himself as Britain's Brexiteer-in-chief, acts if he becomes premier.
In order to avoid a no-deal exit two options remain on the table: a compromise on a revamped political declaration on future EU-UK ties that forms part of the exit treaty, or a delay. The latter is a course Johnson has repeatedly ruled out and which some EU leaders see as pointless unless there is the chance of breaking the political deadlock in London.
Newly elected EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen had said she was open to a further extension.
EU national leaders are scheduled to meet at a summit in Brussels on 17th and 18th October, exactly a fortnight before Britain's leave date.