Brexit negotiators set to work through the weekend

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 2019

He gave no details however on the substance of the talks.

He said there was not "a done deal", adding: "The best thing we can do now is let our negotiators get on with it".

Now Irish media are suggesting that the "pathway to a possible deal" most likely involves concessions from Mr Johnson with regards to the border, and that the UK/EU border will instead be in the Irish Sea, between Ireland and the UK, instead of on the island between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

THERE IS a sense of cautious optimism in the air today after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that yesterday's meeting with Boris Johnson has led to "a pathway to a possible deal".

"Brexit is like climbing a mountain".

"We need vigilance, determination and patience", Barnier told reporters on his way to debrief European Union ambassadors and Parliament's Brexit group. "But even the slightest chance must be used".

Originally, Tusk said he was planning to pull the plug on talks Friday, but because of the breakthrough he can now see talks going through the weekend.

"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 meeting on Friday appears to signify a change of tone in Brexit negotiations, which had reached an impasse mainly over the Irish backstop agreement.

In Paris, France's European affairs minister, Amelie de Montchalin, had another take on the debate, saying that a no-deal Brexit "is probable, at this stage". "It has taken one year, even three years, and we don't really get it", she said.

"Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community", she said.

UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, right, shakes hands with European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier before their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Johnson's Brexit envoy, Stephen Barclay, drove into European Union headquarters for a Friday breakfast meeting with Michel Barnier at which he is expected to brief the European Union negotiator on what, if any, fundamental breakthrough has been made.

Johnson said that there was a "pathway" to a belated deal to stave off a chaotic and costly no-deal Brexit on October 31, while Varadkar said the meeting was "very positive".

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.

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