BREXIT Deal Getting Closer
A European Union (EU) chief says the chances of Britain and the bloc striking a BREXT deal are rising, amid reports the two sides are moving closer on the fraught issue of the Irish border.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Austrian newspapers in comments published Saturday that “the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days.”
Negotiations faltered after the EU said last month that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal for post-BREXIT economic relations was unacceptable.
The main obstacle is ensuring there are no customs posts or border checks along the frontier between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
EU leaders say there needs to be major progress at an 17 – 18 October Summit for there to be a deal before Britain leaves on 29 March 2019.
French President Macron has stepped up attempts to attract UK-based carmakers to France with a private dinner at the Elysée Palace, following their growing concerns about a botched BREXIT deal.
The heads of Renault Nissan, Vauxhall and Jaguar Land Rover are understood to have been among executives invited to a dinner last week, where the president warned against growing nationalism around the world and said he was making France more business friendly.
It is the latest sign President Macron is trying to attract firms nervous about the uncertainty created by BREXIT.
President Macron’s charm offensive emerges before a crucial fortnight that could make or break Theresa May’s hopes of securing a comprehensive BREXIT deal. Some ministers are still understood to be considering resigning should May concede further ground to Brussels, such as limiting Britain’s ability to strike trade deals with other countries.
A week of frenzied diplomatic activity will see the prime minister’s Key BREXiT adviser, Olly Robbins, head to Brussels on Monday, with the BREXIT Scretary, Dominic Raab, holding talks there Thursday. An impasse over how to keep the Irish border open after BREXIT remains, with much riding on whether May can give ground while retaining the support of Northern Irish DUP MPs.
Friday, at an EU Ambassadors meeting addressed by Sabine Weyand, the EU’s deputy chief negotiator, heard that progress was being made, with deals on the future of UK bases in Cyprus and the future of Gibraltar close to being finalized. The Irish question remains unresolved, but EU sources were told there was “movement” on the issue.
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