‘Promising Signals’ Brexit Deal is Possible – Donald Tusk
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk has said he has received ‘promising signals’ that a Brexit Deal is possible from Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar.
In a Tweet, Mr. Tusk said, ‘The UK has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal. But I have received promising signals from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that a deal is possible. Even the slightest chance must be used. A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU.’
Brexit negotiations continue today as the chances of securing an exit deal appear more likely.
In depth details of a private one-on-one meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish equivalent Leo Varadkar yesterday (Thursday) were kept under wraps.
However, in a joint statement issued following the meeting, the two leaders agreed that they ‘could see a pathway to a possible deal.’
The meeting was a last -ditch attempt to reach consensus in relation to the Northern Ireland border issue, as the 31st of October deadline looms and negotiations between the UK and the EU continue to waver.
The statement said that the discussions between the two leaders had been ‘detailed and constructive.’
It went on to say that: ‘Both continue to believe a deal is in everybody’s interest. They agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal. Their discussions concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent. They also discussed the potential to strengthen bilateral relations, including on Northern Ireland.’
The proposal put forward by the British Prime Minister, would see Northern Ireland removed from the EU customs union in line with the rest of the UK, post-Brexit. However, according to the proposal, there would be no customs checks at the Irish border. Instead, the Government foresee customs checks being carried out electronically.
The proposal has come in for significant criticism with questions arising in relation to the lack of available technology to implement Johnson’s ‘tech border.’
Mr. Varadkar and the Irish Government support Northern Ireland remaining in the EU customs union.
Despite the positivity of the meeting, time constraints imposed by the crunch meeting of EU heads at the EU summit, starting at the end of next week, mean hammering out a new deal is unlikely.
UK Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay is meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier today (Friday).
The outcome of this meeting is likely to be the most telling indicator of the possibility of EU/UK consensus in relation to a deal.