EU, Britain to intensify talks on a Brexit deal

Anit-Brexit protesters outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels where talks will take place over the weekend

Negotiators have been given the green light for talks to enter the so-called "tunnel" phase - diplomatic jargon for talks continuing in secret between a small group of negotiators in complete secrecy - with a view to presenting a deal ahead of the European Union summit on 17 and 18 October.

After the Irish prime minister (or "taoiseach") Leo Varadkar suggested that a deal could still be done on-time following one-on-one talks with Prime Minister Johnson and a meeting between Barnier and Britain's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, however, the word has gone out that "tunnel" negotiations may (or may not) be on the cards - although few reporters have elaborated on what this actually means.

Groups from either side will work over the weekend to discover whether or not they can arrive on the foundation of an accord forward of a summit of EU leaders that begins Thursday.The pound posted its largest two-day achieve in a decade, whereas U.Okay. financial institution shares soared - however either side cautioned that a lot work stays to be accomplished if Britain is to depart the EU by Johnson's October 31 deadline.At concern are Johnson's plans to take Northern Eire out of Europe's customs union and provides Stormont, its power-sharing meeting, a veto over the association. But Johnson has insisted that Britain is leaving on October 31 "do or die" - with or without a divorce deal. "Whatever it takes, we will prevent a no-deal Brexit".

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

"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.


Three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, Barnier has learned to keep his cards close to his chest.

"We are working towards a deal", said Mina Andreeva, spokeswoman for the European Commission.

"The UK has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal", said European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday, though he added that he had received "promising signals" from Varadkar.

But Mr Tusk tempered this by saying: "Of course, there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up". He said that "even the slightest chance must be used" to get a deal. "It has taken one year, even three years, and we don't really get it", she said.

Mr Varadkar has reiterated time and again that there will be no hard border in Ireland- the offer of a deal from Mr Johnson last week was rejected on the grounds that there would be checks on goods-vehicles crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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