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

12 Octobre, 2019, 20:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Anit-Brexit protesters outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels where talks will take place over the weekend

"If he can't - or I should say won't - get a deal we will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent our country crashing out of the European Union without a deal", he said.

On Friday, EU officials said that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had indicated he was prepared to make sufficient concessions to allow detailed talks to begin. "We need vigilance, determination and patience", said the man who once organized the 1992 Winter Olympics in his region of France.

The challenge of keeping this border invisible - something that has underpinned both the local economy and the region's peace deal - has dominated Brexit discussions for three years, ever since United Kingdom voters chose in 2016 to leave the EU.

Their meeting followed a burst of optimism after the British and Irish prime ministers said on Thursday that they had found "a pathway" to a possible deal.

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". He said that "even the slightest chance must be used" to get a deal. The EU has a two-day summit starting next Thursday.

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.

"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".

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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".

"I have a fundamental question: why give more time".

Sir Keir poured scorn on suggestions Mr Johnson could get round the law by accompanying a request for an extension with a second letter to the European Union saying he did not really want one.

In a meeting with envoys of the bloc's remaining 27 countries on Friday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggested that Johnson is softening his stance on both customs and Stormont's consent. Barnier's meeting with ambassadors was still going on, but officials with knowledge of the talks said that the 27 other European Union countries had responded positively.

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.

After a meeting in northwest England on Thursday Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar said they had "agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal".

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