Boris Johnson. Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday the United Kingdom will walk away from Brexit talks if no agreement is struck with the European Union by Oct. 15.

The big picture: The U.K. has five weeks to reach a deal with the EU, with negotiations due to resume in London on Tuesday. The threat comes as the U.K. plans legislation to "override" key aspects of the Brexit withdrawal agreement reached with the European Union — including on Northern Ireland, the Financial Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: The moves could see trade talks collapse and the unraveling of the deal the U.K. reached with the EU last October to avoid a hard border with customs control on the island of Ireland.

  • Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, said last week a "precise implementation of the withdrawal agreement" would be the "only way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and preserve the all-island economy."

Between the lines: Northern Ireland has the U.K.'s only land border with an EU member state.

  • Top U.S. Democrats have ruled out a trade deal with the U.K. if Brexit creates a hard border with Ireland and violates the Good Friday Agreement — which helped bring peace to Northern Ireland in the 1990s after decades of sectarian violence. Congress must approve all U.S. trade deals.

Details: Aspects of the U.K. internal market bill, to be published Wednesday, are set to "eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement" signed in January — including on Northern Ireland customs, the FT notes.

  • A British government source told The Guardian the move was "part of the preparation for a no-deal exit" that would present "new trade barriers" from Northern Ireland.

What they're saying: A government spokesperson told the FT that officials were working to "resolve outstanding issues" on Northern Ireland. "[W]e are considering fallback options in the event this is not achieved to ensure the communities of Northern Ireland are protected," the spokesperson added.

  • Johnson said in a statement there's "no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond" the Oct. 15 deadline.
  • "If we can't agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on," he said. "Our door will never be closed and we will trade as friends and partners — but without a free trade agreement."

Go deeper: Brexit's Irish border headache

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - World

UAE minister: Israel agreement will include two-state solution reference

The agreement between the UAE and Israel that will be signed on Tuesday mentions the Palestinian issue and the two-state solution as part of a reference to previous agreements which were signed, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told me in a Zoom briefing.

Why it matters: Gargash’s comments gave the first substantive details from the agreement which up to now remained completely secret. The UAE pushed back on criticism against the agreement, with Israel stressing the deal will also help the Palestinians.

TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
48 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Zooming in on China's new energy plan

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

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