EC president: Brexit deal getting closer

Hugh Fox
October 8, 2018

The two sides are trying to push the divorce deal as well as an agreement on post-Brexit relations above the line in time for two summits of the bloc's leaders scheduled for 17-18 October and 17-18 November.

"We are in the art of the possible here, and from what I see in government, I think that we will get a deal, be it in October or November at the two consecutive summits", he said.

The DUP is propping up British Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government and oppose Mr Barnier's proposal for a so-called "backstop" to apply European Union rules to Northern Ireland, but not to England, Scotland and Wales. Recently there have been hints that May "will propose measures that could bind Northern Ireland to the bloc's standards on goods, if other attempts to avoid a hard border failed, so ensuring there would be no need for checks on north-south trade".

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He said: "If we do negotiate a Canada +++. minus. asterisk. whatever.it's going to take the transition period to negotiate that agreement. And the lesson from history is clear: if you turn the European Union into a prison, the desire to get out of it won't diminish, it will grow", Hunt said. The EU is serious about getting the best possible deal. "It wouldn't be good for Britain or for the rest of the (European) Union", Juncker was quoted as saying.

Mr Tusk - after his criticism of Mr Hunt's comments and his own call for respect to be shown - added: "Telling the truth, even if hard and unpleasant, is the best way of showing respect for partners, that's how it was in Salzburg and that's also how it will work in the coming days". "Even though we haven't changed our minds that the consequences of Brexit will be negative, for both sides", Tusk said. "The commission, via chief negotiator Michel Barnier, is working day and night, with the Brits and with itself and the member states, to be able to gather enough progress". He said he hopes the terms will help minimize "losses" from Brexit on both sides. Britain's position has not moved at all, and the European Union will need to compromise if a deal is to be done.

Currently, thousands of people cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland every day.

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On Saturday, Downing Street distanced itself from suggestions - reported in the Daily Mail newspaper - that they are concerned Mr Juncker is trying to "bounce" the United Kingdom into agreeing a Brexit deal by mid-October.

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