Pound climbs after EU says there are 'promising signals' about Brexit deal

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 2019

The talks had appeared to be on the verge of collapse earlier this week after the United Kingdom government briefed that brokering a deal was "essentially impossible", but were surprisingly revived following three hours of talks between United Kingdom premier Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday.

As negotiations in Brussels entered the intensive "tunnel" phase, the key players were staying tight-lipped about shape of a prospective agreement.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, sounded a philosophical note on Friday, telling reporters that "Brexit is like climbing a mountain".

After talks came close to hitting the buffers, the prime minister managed to win some confidence that he can secure an agreement after meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

"However, yesterday when the Irish [prime minister] and the United Kingdom prime minister met they both saw - for the first time - a pathway to a deal", Tusk said.

Both camps welcomed this morning's discussions as "constructive" and Mr Barnier went on to meet with the EU27 ambassadors who, the European Commission said, agreed to "intensify discussions over the coming days".

"I have received promising signals from [Varadkar] that a deal is still possible", he noted.

He nevertheless warned that there was "no guarantee of success" and said that time was "practically up".

Dramatic progress could lead to the start of so-called intensive "tunnel" negotiations in the coming days, ahead of the crunch European Union heads of government summit.

Sterling rose sharply on worldwide money markets in the wake of the talks, on which Cabinet received a briefing on Friday morning.

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

Briefings by anonymous Downing Street sources had accused Mr Varadkar of backtracking on previous commitments to try to find a deal, and of refusing to negotiate.

However, it is understood that what's being offered involves Northern Ireland leaving the customs union along with the rest of the United Kingdom yet continuing to apply its rules, therefore avoiding a hard border.

"The EU strongly objected to a proposal in Johnson's Brexit blueprint for Northern Ireland to leave the customs union together with the rest of the United Kingdom â€" meaning the return of customs controls on the island of Ireland.

Without a deal, Mr Johnson will face demands from opposition parties to comply with the so-called Benn Act which would require him to request a three-month Brexit delay if there is no agreement by October 19.

Whatever the outcome of the "tunnel" talks and next week's summit, United Kingdom lawmakers will be recalled on October 19, a Saturday, for an emergency parliamentary session. The primary would set off the return of checks on items crossing the border, one thing Dublin and the European Union are against, whereas the second would hand the Democratic Unionist Occasion an efficient veto over the deal, one thing unacceptable south of the border.Can Johnson Get a Deal By way of Parliament?

If a deal did emerge, Mr Johnson would also need the backing of the DUP and Eurosceptic Tories to have any chance of getting it through without opposition support.

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