EU's Barnier cannot say when Brexit deal could be reached

08 Novembre, 2018, 14:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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The EU wants to see a breakthrough within a week if leaders are to endorse any Brexit deal in November, official and diplomatic sources told Reuters. Negotiators from both sides, however, remain at odds over ways to guarantee there is no return of border controls on the frontier between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

"But we do have one scheduled anyway for the 13th and 14th of December, so not getting it done in November doesn't mean we can't get it done in the first two weeks of December", he added.

Varadkar suggested that summits set for mid December could prove to be the new deal-signing day, but that it would "not be a good thing" for talks to stretch out into the New Year.

"We are not there yet".

In a wide-ranging speech that moved from European defence to electric vehicles, he mentioned Brexit only to promise to "fulfill my Brexit mission to the end" and make a brief opening joke that his speech would be short because "the clock is ticking".

"We need this treaty as a +backstop+ (safety net), that is to say, an insurance policy, to be certain that there will be no border lasts on the island of Ireland. There are still important issues outstanding".

The main obstacle to an agreement is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between the Republic of Ireland, a European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. All parties have committed to avoid a "hard border" with costly and time-consuming border checks that would hamper business.

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"Without a backstop there will be no deal".

"This election will be tougher than those before", Barnier said.

It is unclear whether May can get parliament to support a Brexit deal: About 320 votes are needed to win, but May's 315 Conservative lawmakers are not united behind her plans. "We remain determined to reach a deal".

Mrs May updated European Council president Donald Tusk on the situation on Wednesday morning.

"For me, it's always about the objective, more so than the mechanism - what are you actually trying to achieve", Varadkar said on Wednesday.

Most German firms that export to Britain are poorly prepared for a no-deal Brexit, a survey by the IW economic institute showed on Tuesday, highlighting the risk that a disorderly British exit from the European Union could hurt Europe's largest economy.

Barnier is this week at the meeting of his European People's Party in Helsinki and there is nothing on his public agenda about an imminent meeting with Britain's Brexit minister Dominic Raab.

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