Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Brexit breakfast for European Union and United Kingdom negotiators after "pathway to deal" opens

Brexit breakfast for European Union and United Kingdom negotiators after

Details of Johnson's latest proposals have yet to emerge and it is unclear which side conceded ground at the meeting, but Varadkar told journalists on Thursday he thought it possible for a new deal to be struck by the end of this month. But Johnson has long maintained that he would take the United Kingdom out of the European Union on October 31 "do or die".

Party leader Arlene Foster said she was regularly in touch with Boris Johnson and he is "aware of our views".

EU Council President Donald Tusk said he has "received promising signals" from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that a Brexit deal is still possible, so he has extended a deadline to continue the Brexit talks.

If Brexit deal can not be reached, need to be ready for "no-deal".

European Union member states on Friday gave Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier the go-ahead for more intense talks with Britain, diplomatic sources told AFP.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the two leaders said that agreeing on a deal "is in everybody's interest".

The two sides are tussling over the backstop agreement - an insurance policy championed by the EU to keep Northern Ireland in the bloc's customs union in order to prevent the creation of a physical border which could threaten peace on the island - which the United Kingdom argues is undemocratic.

Ms Foster acknowledged there had been a lot of speculation as to what had happened during the Prime Minister's meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in England.

It noted that any deal must contain a "legally operative solution" that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland while protecting the island's economy, the Good Friday peace accord and the EU's single market. "I have already said that the Brexit is like climbing a mountain and we need vigilance, determination and patience".

Originally, Tusk said he was planning to pull the plug Friday on the Brexit talks, but because of the breakthrough he can now see talks going through the weekend, ahead of the EU's two-day summit, which starts next Thursday. But Johnson has insisted that Britain is leaving on October 31 "do or die" - with or without a divorce deal.

Mrs Foster's statement comes after her party gave their backing to the Prime Minister's Brexit proposals last week, which would effectively see a border erected down the Irish Sea and keep Northern Ireland in the Single Market.

Tusk insisted "even the slightest chance must be used" to avoid an acrimonious split since both the European Union and the United Kingdom would be hit hard economically in a no-deal Brexit.

"A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU", Tusk said.

France's European affairs minister, Amelie de Montchalin, said early Friday that a no-deal Brexit "is probable, at this stage".

That said, the pathway for a move higher looks to be more attainable now and that may yet precipitate further gains in the pound back above 1.30 as the hurdles above start to get taken down one by one.

Following the breakfast meeting, Barnier began a briefing with ambassadors from the other 27 European Union capitals, seeking their input on entering political negotiations on a text.

The main stumbling block remains how the U.K.'s only land border, between Britain and Ireland, is dealt with.

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