Following today's discussions between Johnson, Juncker, and Bettel, here is the low-down on what unfolded after their discussions and a press conference that didn't go quite to plan.
Boris Johnson visited Luxembourg today to meet and discuss Brexit with, among others, Juncker, Barnier, and Bettel. In preparation for the event, groups of protesters gathered on Place de Clairfontaine armed with signs, megaphones, and voices of discontent.
Johnson was booed as he arrived at Le Bouquet Garni for lunch, and the protesters remained in place for this exit, and indeed entrance to the meeting. See our earlier coverage for videos, and interviews with some of the protesters here.
Hulk a no-show for press conference
Boris Johnson — who likened himself to the Hulk just yesterday — was scheduled to appear in a joint press conference with Bettel following their meeting. However, for reasons as yet to be confirmed — though initial reports suggest it was due to the veracity and loudness of protests — decided not to go ahead with the press meeting.
Some were quick to point out the irony of protesters seemingly scaring Johnson off.
While the standard protocol in situations such as this is to reschedule, Bettel decided in this instance to proceed with the press conference on his own. His speech was frank, direct, and honest - with little love lost for Johnson and the Brexit process as it stands. He described the latter as a 'nightmare' for EU citizens, and several of his answers to subsequent questions were received by loud applause from the protesters.
From stating that no one had called out the lies presented by Brexit campaigners, to saying that "I [Bettel] hear a lot, but I don't read a lot" from Johnson as regards solutions to the current situation, Bettel made his position clear.
International press - reactions and takes
International press, not least British, has been quick to respond to the event. Depending on which sources you look to, it is either being seen as a deliberate ploy or snub by Luxembourg, or a reflection of Johnson's lacking willingness to face protesters.
Bettel's full speech, transcribed
You can view the full speech and questions and answers in the video above. Below follows a transcript of the speech.
"I wanted to thank Mr Johnson, who was here today, for the exchange that we had. For me it was important to listen to Prime Minister Johnson. To listen to concrete proposals to avoid a no-deal Brexit. For Luxembourg, our position in regards to a deal has always been very clear: the first priority in any withdrawal agreement or declaration on the future relationship is the preservation of the single market. Second, we need a deal that protects the Good Friday Agreement and avoids a hard border on the Irish border at all costs.
The only solution that is currently on the table that meets all these criteria is the withdrawal agreement we agreed on in November last year, with the negotiator Michel Barnier, and whose got support by all the 27 members and also by the European Parliament.
I know that the UK government is unhappy with the withdrawal agreement as it stands. That's why I thought that it was important to speak with Prime Minister Johnson to get proposals. We need more than just words. We need a legally operable text to work on as soon as possible, if we want to meet the October deadline. I have never minced my words when asked about another extension, so let me be very clear once again: An extension is only an option if it serves a purpose. We will not grant another extension just for the sake of granting another extension.
Historically, the UK has always been an important ally and a strategic partner of my country - but most importantly, a close friends. The ties that link our people is are strong, and that will not change with Brexit. But our people need to know what is going to happen to them in six weeks' time: they need clarity, they need certainty, and they need stability. You can't hold a future hostage for party political gains.
So now it's on Mr Johnson. He holds the future of all UK citizens, and every EU citizen living in the UK, in his hands. It's his responsibility. Your people, our people, count on you. But the clock is ticking. Use your time wisely."