Published On: Sat, Oct 6th, 2018

FINAL COUNTDOWN: EU and Ireland TURN UP HEAT on UK – ‘Just TWO WEEKS to SAVE Brexit deal'


Mr Varadkar said today heremains hopeful there will be decisive progress in the next two weeks to conclude a Brexit deal but warned there is still more work to be done.

Jean-Claude Juncker also said the chances of a good deal had grown in recent days but urged Mrs May to work had to secure this.

Diplomatic sources confirmed the European Commission president was confident of securing a good Brexit deal in the next weeks.

EU Brexit negotiators believe an agreement on the terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc is “very close”, diplomatic sources told Reuters, in a sign a compromise on a major sticking point – the future Irish border – might be in the making.

Mr Varadkar said today: “There will be a summit in two weeks in Brussels that will be a time for us to take stock.

“I would be hopeful at that point that there would be decisive progress allowing us to conclude an agreement by November.

“That remains to be seen yet. I think there is a fair bit of work to be done.

“It’s increasingly important that we conclude a deal sooner rather than later.”

Mr Varadkar added Brexit will feature centrally in next week’s budget for 2019 and the government’s new plans to run a balanced budget for next year would give it the capacity to borrow “if we do run into problems with Brexit.”

He also said if the government needs to help businesses and farmers affected by Brexit, it could dip into the state’s new ‘rainy day fund’ – a contingency reserve that will be set up next year to shield the economy from future shocks.

Mr Juncker also struck a positive note when asked if a deal could be made, telling Austrian media today: “I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days.”

The mood was echoed by European Council president Donald Tusk who said the EU is trying to agree a deal this month, adding: “And I think there is a chance to have an accord by the end of the year.”

Ireland’s deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said talks are now entering an intensive phase, turning the heat further up on Mrs May.

He told the Press Association: “It is now time for the UK and EU’s talented negotiators to lock themselves into a room and complete the withdrawal agreement over the next two weeks.

“The EU summit of October 17/18 must hear of progress for a special summit to be called in November.

“The Irish and EU position has not changed and the UK must deliver on its written commitments of last December and March.

“That is a backstop that guarantees no hard border in Ireland or related checks or infrastructure.

“We don’t want the backstop to ever be used, instead we want a close future trading relationship with the UK negotiated over the transition period of a managed Brexit.

“We believe this can be done and it is the responsibility of politicians to give the final push for a deal.”



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