European Union gives nod to new round of secret Brexit talks with UK

Ashford MP Damian Green

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier gave the green light on Friday for intensive discussions between officials to start.

A short while later, Mr Barnier has hailed a "constructive meeting" with Mr Barclay, as leaders eyed a glimmer of hope for brokering a new divorce deal.

The EU's position remains the same: there must be a legally operative solution in the Withdrawal Agreement that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the Single Market.

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

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.

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

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

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

"Be patient", Mr Barnier told reporters as he left the meeting and went on to brief the 27 European Union states.

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. "I have received promising signals from the Taoiseach that a deal is still possible", he said.

The Newest: US takes 2 militants tied to beheadings in Syria
I devoted judge or no longer it is appalling", stated Diane Foley, the victim's mother, the usage of an acronym for the ISIS. But a Government source said: "They are not British citizens and they are not coming back to this country".

DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party has consistently opposed the contentious border backstop proposals.

Prime Minister @BorisJohnson meets Irish Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar to discuss the UK's Brexit proposals.

After his meeting with Barclay, Barnier said it was essential to keep focus. Downing Street is believed to have privately shared a proposed compromise with negotiators in Brussels.

On Wednesday, Mr Barnier told the European Parliament there was still no basis for a fresh agreement.

Ms Foster said no barriers to trade could be erected within the UK.

Johnson has vowed Britain will end its five-decade membership of the European Union on October 31, with or without agreeing exit terms.

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 key sticking point in the Brexit negotiations is the border between European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, with time running out ahead of Britain's scheduled departure in barely three weeks.

Many MPs believe that, if he can not get a deal, Mr Johnson will use the occasion to push for a "people versus Parliament" general election as early as next month.

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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