Boris Johnson to meet Juncker for Brexit talks in Luxembourg

Boris Johnson to meet Juncker for Brexit talks in Luxembourg

EU sources suggest PM wanted to avoid meeting in Brussels as he attempts to break impasse

Boris Johnson will travel to what EU officials described as a “neutral location” in Luxembourg on Monday to meet Jean-Claude Juncker for the first time in an attempt to break the Brexit impasse.

The talks will take place at a lunch hosted by Juncker in the European commission president’s home country, where he was prime minister for 18 years.

Johnson will then hold talks with the current prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel.

EU sources suggested Johnson had sought to avoid a meeting in Brussels for fear of giving the impression that he was begging for concessions. A European commission spokeswoman said Juncker would meet him for a “working lunch”.

She said the location had been chosen by “common accord” and that it would allow Juncker the benefit of going straight from the talks to Strasbourg, where the European parliament is sitting next week. She declined to disclose details about the precise location of the meeting. “It is taking place at a neutral location, which [we] will not disclose”, she said. “It is a working lunch so you can imagine it is somewhere serving food.”

Johnson’s communications team is understood to believe that Theresa May undermined herself in the public eye by making dashes to Brussels to seek movement in the negotiation.

The prime minister has hinted at plans for further meetings with EU leaders next week.

His first visits in August, to Berlin and Paris to meet the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, were widely seen as a success.

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