'Stubbornly optimistic': Both sides hail progress in Brexit talks

03 September, 2018, 04:17 | Author: Mary Valdez
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The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has increased pressure on the British government over the Irish backstop following an intensive round of negotiations in Brussels.

"With (Other OTC: WWTH - news) no backstop, we will not be able to have an agreement".

"I think it's had a reasonably positive landing, we're getting a lot of constructive engagement, and. a lot of talk about the practical considerations rather than "in principle" dismissal, and I think that's valuable from our point of view", Raab told the Lordes EU Committee.

"It's as simple as that".

Barnier added he was determined to reach an agreement ahead of the European council meeting in October, but both sides have now conceded that there is flexibility for further negotiations, with an extraordinary summit expected in November.

"It's essential to conclude the negotiations".

He said: "With no backstop, there will be no agreement".

The backstop is an arrangement which will apply if the Irish border can not be kept as frictionless as it is now in the context of a wider deal.

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"This backstop is critical".

Barnier said unresolved issues included geographical indications, the role of the EU's top court in policing the agreement and data protection, among others.

"... We need to find a solution to control the movement of goods without rebuilding the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland".

That goes specifically for the sensitive issue of the EU-UK land border between Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, where the EU wants a "backstop" solution in case of no deal, which includes terms that are anathema to London.

Barnier emphasised again that the European Union and United Kingdom were working for an "unprecedented partnership" in the future that would include a free trade agreement, cooperation in areas of internal security, foreign policy, external security, and defence.

He said: "If we achieve what was in the March guidelines then you really do have a partnership with no precedent, this a very ambitious free trade agreement, specific agreements in all sorts of area of common interest".

Mr Barnier warned that a deal must be signed by "November at the latest".

"We're negotiating with Theresa May's Government with Dominic Raab and his team and they're the ones round the negotiating table".

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