European Union members give go-ahead for more intense Brexit talks

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2019

Meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk handed the PM a last-minute reprieve to secure an agreement, but warned the United Kingdom still has not presented a "workable, realistic proposal".

Mr Barnier compared the UK's departure from the European Union to climbing a mountain, stressing the need for "determination and patience".

But the details of Mr Johnson's concessions are not yet known.

British and European Union negotiators have held a "constructive" breakfast meeting in a last-ditch bid to restart Brexit talks, as leaders insisted a deal might yet be possible despite time running out fast.

There has been speculation that Mr Johnson could now try to revive a compromise proposal first put forward by former prime minister Theresa May that would see Northern Ireland remain politically in a customs union with the EU, but that it would be administered by the UK.


Meanwhile the DUP, whose support is likely to be crucial if Mr Johnson is to get a deal through Parliament, warned they would only back measures that were in the "long-term economic and constitutional interests " of Northern Ireland.

It would create a customs border in the Irish Sea with goods travelling from the rest of the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland being subject to tariffs which Britain would collect on behalf of the EU. "I have received promising signals from the taoiseach that a deal is still possible", Mr Tusk said, during a trip to Cyprus.

"A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU", Tusk said, but he also added that "there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up".

The prime minister put forward revised proposals for a deal last week, created to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

The Taoiseach said a deal was possible after more than two hours of talks but warned that "there's many a slip between cup and lip".


It comes after an apparent Brexit breakthrough on Thursday when the Prime Minister held crunch talks with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.

Barnier was expected to brief the European Parliament's Brexit Steering group on progress on Friday afternoon.

The PM has said that, while he will abide by the law, he is determined to leave on the Halloween deadline of October 31 come what may.

With the British Parliament and government both rejecting the withdrawal treaty negotiated by Theresa May, and the European Union rejecting a rehash of the treaty with some alternative arrangements for the customs border between EU member-state the Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland put forward by Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom is now headed for a clean break with the bloc - or, if anti-Brexit MPs have their way, yet another Brexit delay.

Can Johnson Get a Deal Through Parliament?


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