(Strasbourg) “I am not sure that we will succeed. But we will try our best to the very end, by remaining available to work 24/7. Jean-Claude Juncker does not cease to repeat it: “The risk of a ‘no deal’ is real, but we have to seek an agreement with the British Government to avoid the serious consequences” of the UK’s disorderly departure from the EU. And he reiterated it today in Strasbourg, where a debate (with a vote on a resolution) is underway between MEPs and the representatives of the EU Commission and Council. “What we know so far is that the UK will leave the European Union on 31 October, with or without a deal. If there is a no-deal departure, that will not be our responsibility”. Juncker briefed MEPs about his recent meeting with PM Boris Johnson. “Overall it was a good meeting”, he said. But many issues still need to be addressed, particularly the Irish backstop. “It is a safety net”, Juncker explained, that is necessary for “several reasons: to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; to preserve peace between the two Irelands and the Good Friday Agreement; to protect the European single market and trade relations” that are mutually beneficial. “We need both technical and political negotiations”, the president of the Commission remarked: “We have to focus on an agreement that protects and improves the lives of EU and UK citizens alike”.