Boris Johnson opens door to customs compromise

Boris Johnson opens door to customs compromise

As the negotiators reviewed their options, the president of the European Council and host of next week's Brussels summit Donald Tusk said that he would have pulled the plug on talks this Friday if Britain had not come forward with evidence of a workable proposal.

Tusk, speaking in Nicosia, said "for the first time" Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a pathway toward a deal, adding that "even the slightest chance must be used" to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Varadkar told Irish reporters on Thursday after his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "I think it is possible for us to come to an agreement, to have a treaty agreed, to allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion and to have that done by the end of October".

Ms Foster acknowledged there had been a lot of speculation as to what had happened during the Prime Minister's meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in England.

A short while later, Mr Barnier has hailed a "constructive meeting" with Mr Barclay, as leaders eyed a glimmer of hope for brokering a new divorce deal.

He added: "Brexit is like climbing a mountain".

The meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar at a country manor on the Wirral on Thursday came after a week of abrupt exchanges between London, Dublin and Brussels. Those indicated relations between the two sides were becoming strained with the deadline for the UK's departure from the European Union looming and no deal yet agreed.

In a joint statement, both leaders described the two-hour meeting as a "detailed and constructive discussion" where "they agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal".

Mrs. Foster issued the statement a few hours after Boris Johnson refused to rule out leaving Northern Ireland in the E.U.'s customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom would leave it.

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Sterling rose sharply on worldwide money markets in the wake of the talks, on which Cabinet received a briefing on Friday morning.

Briefings by anonymous Downing Street sources had accused Mr Varadkar of backtracking on previous commitments to try to find a deal, and of refusing to negotiate.

The pair are attempting to strike a deal before the proposed Brexit date of October 31.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on October 31.

However, there is still no clarity on what concessions have been or are likely to be made, and public statements suggest that long-standing differences remain unchanged.

Following his "technical" discussion with Mr Barclay in Brussels, Mr Barnier told reporters: "Be patient".

France has also long said that deadlines can not be extended forever, since Britain was originally slated to leave the bloc on March 31.

Whatever the outcome of the "tunnel" talks and next week's summit, United Kingdom lawmakers will be recalled on October 19, a Saturday, for an emergency parliamentary session.

"It's a tunnel with a very small light at the end of it", one of the diplomats said, indicating there was not too much hope on the European Union side that a divorce deal could be sealed before the end of the month.

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