European Union promises United Kingdom unparalleled partnership for amicable Brexit

European Union promises United Kingdom unparalleled partnership for amicable Brexit

"This includes the no-deal scenario...because at the moment we are not ready to reach an agreement".

Barnier on Friday (31 August) told reporters after several hours of talks with UK Brexit secretary Raab in Brussels that agreeing to a legally operational backstop was a matter of "urgency".

For sterling bears finding it increasingly expensive to fund these short bets, some traders said Barnier's comments - indicating a slightly more conciliatory tone rather than a major shift in negotiating stance - were the final straw.

Mr Barnier has asked Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to provide technical data on how checks and controls along the Irish Sea might work in the event of the backstop coming into play.

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

The EU coined the backstop option that would practically keep Northern Ireland in the EU's customs union and the single market for goods to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, a commitment the United Kingdom has also agreed to.

But London has so far rejected the idea of the backstop, saying it would create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

European Union leaders will meet on 18 October, and while agreement on a withdrawal deal is no longer seen as likely by that data, Mr Raab said that he wanted to continue "accelerating and intensifying" negotiations.

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"This backstop is critical".

The backstop, which would foresee Northern Ireland remain in the single market for goods, and in the customs union, is due to be contained in a protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, which is due to be concluded in October, or early November at the latest.

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

"The solutions (on Ireland) must be workable".

Mr Raab promised any deal on the border would be "workable" for the nearby communities it would affect most.

Michel Barnier has ended a wave of market optimism about the prospects for a deal by delivering a sobering message about the state of negotiations.

Raab said he wanted to continue "accelerating and intensifying" negotiations, adding: "I am stubbornly optimistic that a deal is within our reach".

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