Johnson, Varadkar have "constructive" Brexit talks

Sterling to Euro exchange rate

Mr Johnson has consistently said the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on Oct 31 with or without a deal.

Oct 19 - If the stalemate is not broken at this point, a law recently passed by British parliament dictates that London must ask the European Union to extend the October 31 deadline to January 31 - a period in which a national election may be held to try to break the Brexit deadlock.

The business minister said it showed that, "on both sides we want to get to a deal". He added that a deal was "still possible".

Michel Barnier said that "to put things very frankly ... we are not really in a position where we are able to find an agreement".

Each side's plan is rejected by the other, and the EU Summit - where any deal would have to be signed off - is just a week away. "We need real, credible solutions for the island of Ireland", said Barnier, " Finding an agreement is hard, but still possible", he added.

However Barnier struck a downbeat tone Wednesday, telling the European Parliament that "we're not on the point of envisioning and finding a deal".

The talks come with time running out to sign off on any agreement at a 17-18 October leaders' summit in Brussels, ahead of the UK's scheduled departure from the European Union at the end of the month after almost five decades of membership.

"I had a very good meeting with the prime minister... very positive and very promising", Varadkar said.

Late October - EU diplomats and officials expect an extraordinary summit of EU leaders before Oct. 31.

"If Boris wins, which is what the polls are saying at the moment, and he comes back with a majority, that British government will be much less willing to compromise", the ex-cabinet minister told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

The new idea, as reported by the Times, would be a modified version of the consent principle.

At a rally in Northampton, he told supporters they were "champing at the bit" for the chance of a change of government, once they were sure Mr Johnson could not push through a no-deal break in the middle of the campaign.

The taoiseach has made it clear that he believes that the PM's proposals on a Stormont lock and Northern Ireland's membership of a United Kingdom customs union in the future pose problems in terms of avoiding a hard border on the island after Brexit.

Short of an last-minute breakthrough, Johnson will have to decide whether to accept another delay or to go for a no-deal Brexit and get around a law demanding he extend.

Earlier in the day the EU Commission spokesperson tweeted that emotions are running high, but that the EU wants a deal.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar issued a joint statement following a private lunch meeting in northwest England on Thursday.

The pound jumped sharply from trading at $1.2218 against the USA dollar to $1.2269 after Johnson and Varadkar's meeting.

Citing diplomatic sources close to the talks, the Times said European governments were prepared to "concede a unilateral revocation of the withdrawal treaty by Stormont after a period of time".



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