Brexit: EU, UK get go-ahead to intensify talks

BOURNEMOUTH ENGLAND- SEPTEMBER 14 European Parl

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.

The two said in a joint statement they "agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal".

A flurry of activity has brought the fraught bargaining process to a new level as Britain's scheduled departure date of October 31 grows ever closer, but it is still uncertain whether the two sides can make a breakthrough before then.

A diplomat and an European Union official said European Union negotiator Michel Barnier had told member states that Britain had changed its position and now accepted that its proposed replacement of the so-called "backstop" can not involve a customs border between European Union member Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The two sides are tussling over the backstop agreement - an insurance policy championed by the EU to keep Northern Ireland in the bloc's customs union in order to prevent the creation of a physical border which could threaten peace on the island - which the United Kingdom argues is undemocratic. Negotiations are underway, with apparent goodwill on both sides.

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 31 October, with or without agreeing on the exit terms.

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

Since the 2016 British referendum vote for Brexit, negotiations have bounced back and forth between London and Brussels.

Under no circumstances will we see anything that damages the whole of the United Kingdom to take full advantages of Brexit.

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks to the media following private talks with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at Liverpool Airport, England, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. He said that "even the slightest chance must be used" to get a deal.

Johnson also said that "most people just want to get Brexit done". 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.

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.

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