EU Contradicts Boris Johnson on Brexit Meetings

LONDON (AP) — The European Union says no Brexit talks have been scheduled for coming days despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office insisting that meetings would soon begin on a daily basis.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Tuesday that “once there are meetings to announce we will do this.”

The commission is supervising Brexit negotiations on behalf of Britain’s 27 EU partners.

Andreeva says “we remain available 24/7” and that “this hasn’t changed. We are available to meet anytime, any day, every day, if the U.K. wants to meet us.”

But she says “it’s now the U.K.’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the withdrawal agreement” in order “to move the discussions forward.”

Also Tuesday, The Dutch king issued a “profit warning” for his country amid concerns about the effect of Brexit and global trade conflicts in his annual speech marking the opening of Parliament.

In the speech from the throne, written by the coalition government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, King Willem-Alexander said Tuesday that the strong Dutch economy will enter a period of more moderate growth in coming years.

He says that the Dutch economy, which is reliant on exports, “is vulnerable to disruptions in the global market, particularly as a result of trade conflicts” and added that the looming “Brexit casts its shadow over the future.”

The government was to present its plans and projections for the coming year later in the day.

Meanwhile,  Hungary’s foreign minister indicated that his country will not oppose a joint European Union position on Brexit.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called it “very important” that the EU has maintained “unity” about Brexit, and that Hungary has never broken the bloc’s united decisions on key issues.

Still, Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, that  it was pointless to speculate about what the EU position will be, since Boris Johnson has not presented “a new initiative” on Brexit. Johnson insists Britain will leave the EU on the scheduled date of Oct. 31 with or without a Brexit deal.

There has been speculation in Britain that Hungary’s government might oppose extending the Brexit deadline because of political affinities with Johnson.

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