French President Emmanuel Macron urged Boris Johnson to engage in discussions swiftly with the EU's chief negotiator, during a Sunday telephone call in which the British prime minister outlined his latest Brexit proposals, an Elysee official said.
- Dutch PM Mark Rutte said he spoke to Mr Johnson on Saturday, but "important questions remain about the British proposals".
"It's fully dependent on the will of Johnson because from the European side, we're always open and looking towards a deal".
Barnier told an event in France Saturday that while an agreement was still possible it "will be very hard to reach".
Johnson's proposals, submitted Wednesday, "do not provide a basis for concluding an agreement", a European Commission spokeswoman underlined on Friday.
After hours-long talks in Brussels on Friday failed to move the dial, a United Kingdom spokesman said: "We want a deal and talks continue on Monday on the basis of our offer".
The EU refuses to characterise the talks held so far as negotiations, underlining a preference to stick with a Brexit withdrawal agreement that was struck with Mr Johnson's predecessor Theresa May but rejected three times by British MPs.
Writing in two other Sunday newspapers "The Sun on Sunday" and "Sunday Express" Johnson himself reiterated his stance against the controversial Irish backstop and said his untested plan to use technology to eliminate customs border checks would take the United Kingdom out of European Union trade rules while respecting the Northern Ireland peace process.
The main sticking point is a "backstop" for Northern Ireland that under the May agreement would have seen all the United Kingdom, or at least Northern Ireland, remaining in the EU's customs union.
"They should be under no illusions or misapprehensions", he wrote in the Sunday Express and the Sun on Sunday.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a key player in the equation as an European Union member-country bordering the United Kingdom, said he believed a deal was possible but said current proposals did not go far enough. There will be no more dither.
It sees the potential for rampant smuggling while Ireland is concerned hardline Northern Irish unionists would have an effective veto. "On Oct.31 we are going to get Brexit done".
Ireland's leader Leo Varadkar said on Saturday there is "plenty of time" for U.K.to put forward alternatives.
"MPs from every wing of my own Conservative Party, from Northern Ireland's DUP, even from Jeremy Corbyn's own ranks, have said that our proposed deal looks like one they can get behind", Mr Johnson said.
But the PM has won the backing of former premier David Cameron, who said he "completely supports" Mr Johnson's efforts to get a deal in Europe and take it through the Commons, adding: "That's the best thing that could possibly happen".
But they're at odds with a United Kingdom government document quoted in a Scottish court Friday indicating Johnson intends to comply with a law Parliament passed this month requiring the prime minister to ask for a delay if there's no deal with the European Union in place by October 19.