20:49 GMT05 March 2021
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    Mr Johnson said shortly after moving into Downing Street that he would advocate an "abolition of the backstop", sparking concerns among EU officials who may have to change their strategies in negotiations as the 31 October Brexit deadline looms.

    EU officials may be preparing for a long battle with Britain as UK prime minister Boris Johnson prepares to continue negotiations with Brussels under a hardline Brexit stance.

    The news comes after Mr Johnson formed a Brexit-backing cabinet that is expected to make fewer compromises.

    "There is no shortage of acrimony," an European Union ambassador told the Sunday Times. "I don't think there will be any circumstances under which there will be anything other than a Brexit cold war".

    An EU diplomat quoted by the Express said that the main concerns were to "build and better relations", and that it was "logical" that the European bloc was looking to avoid the "no deal abyss".

    Another added: "The UK will hunker down into its hothouse bunker and its difficult to see how relations will flourish in such a scenario.

    The second diplomat said that the UK and EU should be "working together to hold their own on the global stage" and that former UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt had "asked for European support on a naval security mission".

    Further EU officials admitted that the backstop was "the only acceptable solutions" both the EU and UK could agree on after two years of negotiations. But Brussels remains sceptical over whether the UK can guarantee frictionless movement across the Irish border using technology and other infrastructure.

    But should Mr Johnson rip up the withdrawal agreement "he will leave the EU without one", a diplomat cited by the Express said, adding that there would not "be a managed no deal, no standstill transition – just no deal.”

    Tensions have begun rising as the UK is expected to eet the deadline of 31 October to agree on a new Brexit deal, or withdraw from the EU without one. EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spoke with Mr Johnson on Thursday, with the latter promising to exit the EU by the proposed deadline, with or without an agreement. Mr. Juncker has promised to analyse London's Brexit proposals, providing that they were "compatible" with the current agreement. But Mr Johnson said that he would renegotiate the UK's £33bn "divorce" deal agreed to under former British prime minister Theresa May, but EU officials said that they would only discuss amending an "additional political text outlining future arrangements".


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