Sept. 15 (UPI) -- European Union officials on Sunday dismissed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statements that negotiations for Britain to leave the bloc have progressed.
European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to ask Johnson to lay out his plans for replacing the Irish backstop, a cornerstone of the Brexit negotiations, and an EU official told The Guardian that "people are a bit dismayed," despite the prime minister's optimistic comments.
"I am not even going to call them negotiations," the person said. "The last session on Friday did start touching on content -- that's actually quite a step forward -- but we still should have been there a long time ago and [an end result] is still quite far away."
Johnson told the Daily Mail on Sunday that there were "real signs of movement" in Berlin, Paris and Dublin in regards to removing the proposal that would prevent a hard border in Ireland after Britain leaves the European Union.
"A huge amount of progress is being made," he said.
Seeking to instill confidence that Britain will successfully depart from the EU, Johnson also stated that Britain will break free from its "manacles" on Oct. 31 like the Incredible Hulk.
"Whichever senior Tory politician took the lead on the Brexit side -- so loaded with images of patriotism, independence and romance, would become the darling of the party," he said. "He didn't want to risk allowing someone else with a profile -- Michael Gove in particular -- to win that crown."