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Juncker tells Johnson EU support for Ireland is steadfast

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for a European Union leaders summit that aims to select candidates for top EU institution jobs, in Brussels, Belgium June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Boris Johnson on Tuesday he would look at any concrete proposals the British prime minister had on the Northern Irish backstop but underlined that the bloc’s support for Ireland was steadfast.

“President Juncker repeated his willingness to work constructively with Prime Minister Johnson and to look at any concrete proposals he may have, as long as they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement,” the Commission said after the two had a 20-minute phone call.

“President Juncker underlined the EU27’s support for Ireland is steadfast and that the EU will continue to be very attentive to Ireland’s interests.”

Juncker added that the EU would do everything it could to avoid a no-deal Brexit, saying such a scenario would only ever be the UK’s decision and not the EU’s.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; writing by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison