Published: Thu, October 10, 2019

European Union sees hope in Brexit talks; Irish leader sees wide gaps

European Union sees hope in Brexit talks; Irish leader sees wide gaps

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday meet his Irish counterpart for last-ditch Brexit talks, with simply days left to strike an European Union divorce deal and each side blaming one another for an deadlock.

The meeting between the two leaders will take place in the north-west of England, with Mr Johnson still insisting on the United Kingdom at the end of the month.

"The meeting will be private to allow both leaders and their teams to have detailed discussions about the process for securing agreement for a Brexit deal", the statement read.

Verhofstadt said the proposals put forward by Johnson last week were "not serious" and accused the Prime Minister of "pushing Britain" out of the bloc - referencing Johnson's labelling of opponents of Brexit as "traitors" and "collaborators", he told MEPs the "real traitor" was actually the British premier.

He said the European Union would continue to work in a "calm" and "constructive" manner to try to find an agreement but it was clear that Mr Johnson's blueprint, which would require the return of customs checks in Ireland, was not the basis for a breakthrough.

The following events over the next three weeks will determine whether Britain exits the European Union as planned on October 31 or the three-year-old Brexit saga takes another twist.

In what would be the first Saturday sitting since 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falklands Islands, and only the third since World War II, MPs will be recalled even if there is no Brexit deal to vote on.

One Nation group chairman Damian Green told Sky News: "The PM agreed with us that he doesn't see no-deal in that manifesto".

For more analysis, read BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg's blog.

Mr Hammond said Brexiteers should admit there were "very limited benefits" to be had from striking trade deals outside the bloc. "This coupled with the fact that at best No Deal Brexit risks have only been pushed out rather than diminished will weigh on the Pound during the remainder of the month", says MUFG's Halpenny.

Mr Johnson tweeted: "Of course we've been negotiating with our friends and partners in the European Union about Brexit and I'm still cautiously, cautiously optimistic".

The Prime Minister's "two borders" proposals, he said, were based on a system "that hasn't been properly developed, that hasn't been tested".

Johnson's proposals crossed so numerous EU's red lines, Barnier said, that he would need to fundamentally revamp his proposals - something the British leader has said he will not do.

Timeline: What's happening ahead of Brexit deadline?

Monday 14 October - The Commons is due to return, and the government will use the Queen's Speech to set out its legislative agenda. Thursday 17 October- Crucial two-day summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.

European officials warned Monday (6 October) that Britain's latest Brexit proposal can not serve as a basis for a breakthrough before next week's Brussels summit.

The British parliament will hold a special Saturday sitting on October 19 to decide what to do.

With Britain due to leave the bloc on October 31, the comments by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were aimed more at sidestepping any blame for whatever the final outcome of the increasingly intractable divorce than signalling a deal was in the making.

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