Brexit deal growing more likely, talks with United Kingdom extended

Nigel Farage

"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.

Following Thursday's meeting with Leo Varadkar, Boris Johnson refused to say what concessions he had made, only that "under no circumstances" would he agree to a deal that damages the ability of all of the United Kingdom to "take full advantage" of Brexit.

The main sticking point in the divorce deal is how to keep open the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, a member of the EU. "There's a way to go, it's important now our negotiators on both sides get into proper talks about how to sort this thing out".

"The DUP has always indicated that the United Kingdom must leave the European Union as one nation and in so doing that no barriers to trade are erected within the UK", leader Arlene Foster said, without rejecting the proposal outright.

Their talks "concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent", their joint statement said. He said that "even the slightest chance must be used" to get a deal.

Highlighting the upbeat mood, Johnson's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, got a warm welcome from European Union negotiator Michel Barnier before they started nearly two hours of talks around breakfast.

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British media had been reporting that the prospects of reaching a Brexit deal by the October 31 deadline had diminished after European Union countries gave a negative reaction to Johnson's latest proposals. But Johnson has insisted that Britain is leaving on October 31 "do or die" - with or without a divorce deal.

One way to do that could be to extend the October 31 deadline so that negotiators have more time to work things out in legally-binding detail.

France has also long said that deadlines can not be extended forever, since Britain was originally slated to leave the bloc on March 31.

Barnier, who held "constructive" talks with Britain's Brexit minister Stephen Barclay on Friday, said the Europeans would take stock again on Monday.

De Montchalin said in an interview with France Inter radio that even Britain's scheduled departure date of October 31 remains realistic since she does not see an obvious reason to grant a further extension to the United Kingdom.

"We are regularly in touch with the Prime Minister and as a result he is aware of our views", she said.

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