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

12 October 2019

Boris Johnson's government is set to enter intensive "tunnel" negotiations with the European Union over a possible Brexit deal ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels next weekend, in a major boost for the prospect of an agreement before the October 31 deadline.

The EU Commision later confirmed that the EU and the United Kingdom will now "intensify discussions over the coming days", reaffirming their position that a "legally operative" solution was required to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland - the main sticking point for Brussels. The primary would set off the return of checks on items crossing the border, one thing Dublin and the European Union are against, whereas the second would hand the Democratic Unionist Occasion an efficient veto over the deal, one thing unacceptable south of the border.Can Johnson Get a Deal By way of Parliament?

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier met on Friday for a technical discussion, which both sides described as positive. In what would doubtlessly be a big climb-down, Johnson acknowledged there ought to be no customs border on the island of Eire, two officers stated. "That doesn't imply it's a accomplished deal".

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Meanwhile the DUP, whose support is likely to be crucial if Johnson is to get a deal through Parliament, warned they would only back measures that were in the "long-term economic and constitutional interests " of Northern Ireland.

THERE IS a sense of cautious optimism in the air today after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that yesterday's meeting with Boris Johnson has led to "a pathway to a possible deal". However he added that he had seen "promising alerts".

Marc Burleigh, Brussels correspondent for AFP, indicates that "tunnel" negotiatons are essentially just regular negotiations without breifings or leaks, conducted in an "intense" way - which rather raises the question of what European Union and British negotiators have been doing up until now, considering Brexit was originally supposed to take place on March 29th and its current deadline is only twenty days away.

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There has been speculation that Mr Johnson could now try to revive a compromise proposal first put forward by former prime minister Theresa May that would see Northern Ireland remain politically in a customs union with the EU, but that it would be administered by the UK.

Labour will take action in the courts to prevent Boris Johnson from pushing through a no-deal Brexit against the will of parliament, Keir Starmer has pledged.

Varadkar's words Thursday indicated that Johnson might have shifted his red lines and could now be willing to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.

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However, Euopean Council President Donald Tusk did somewhat temper the good mood earlier in the day, revealing that he had set Johnson an ultimatum - whereby he must present Brexit plans by Friday or there would be "no more chances".

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