EU’s Donald Tusk sees 'promising' signals for a Brexit deal

EU’s Donald Tusk sees 'promising' signals for a Brexit deal

"Both continue to believe a deal is in everybody's best interest", the statement said.

She said the DUP remains "very relevant" in the parliamentary arithmetic and will judge any outcome reached by Mr Johnson against the position they have set out.

De Montchalin said in an interview with France Inter radio that even Britain's scheduled departure date of October 31 remains realistic since she does not see an obvious reason to grant a further extension to the United Kingdom. However, he said that "even the slightest chance must be used".

The European Council head said he had received a positive signals from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that a deal was "still possible" after Varadkar met Johnson on Thursday, Reuters reported.

"We had a constructive meeting with Steve Barclay and the British team", Mr Barnier told reporters.

"Brexit is like climbing a mountain". Both sides are anxious to avoid taking the blame should the deadline for Britain's departure arrive with no deal secured.

He said the United Kingdom had yet to put forward an "operational, legally binding solution" to replace the Northern Ireland backstop - meant to prevent the return of a hard border with the Republic.

On his way out, Mr Barnier told reporters they had held a "constructive meeting" and that he was going to meet with ambassadors of the EU27 and the European Parliament's Brexit steering group before planning the next move.

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Brussels is also concerned that a proposal in the British plan for Northern Ireland to remain tied to European Union single market rules for trade in goods could be vetoed before it had even got off the ground by the Democratic Unionist Party.

The currency was up by more than 1.6% against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) and came close to hitting $1.27 following statements from both European Council president Donald Tusk and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

One way to do that could be to extend the October 31 deadline so that negotiators have more time to work things out in legally-binding detail.

The PM has said that, while he will abide by the law, he is determined to leave on the Halloween deadline of October 31 come what may.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, regions and sectors in Ireland which are more reliant on trade with Britain and which are more vulnerable to the imposition of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, particularly sectors such as agriculture, food and the broad SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) sector, are likely to be more adversely affected, he said. De Montchalin told France Inter radio that she does not see an obvious reason to grant a further Brexit extension to the United Kingdom.

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.

The question of the Irish border - and the proposed "backstop" that angers Brexiteers - has become the most intractable issue in negotiations.