Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay says Brussels know a deal is ‘doable’ after meeting EU chief Michel Barnier for crunch talks in Brussels

BREXIT Secretary Stephen Barlcay said the EU believe a deal with Britain is “doable” after he thrashed it out with Brussels chief Michel Barnier.

Mr Barclay met with the bloc’s top negotiator this afternoon and said the two sides shared a “common interest”.

Stephen Barclay said the EU believe a Brexit deal is ‘doable’
Reuters

LET’S MAKE A DEAL

Speaking after the summit, he said: “There is a shared desire reflected in the meeting today to secure a deal.

“There is a clear message from (European Commission) President Juncker and from the prime minister that a deal is doable,” he said.

“The technical teams will meet again next week, the prime minister and (European Council) President Tusk are expected to meet in the UN as well,” Barclay said, adding that showed the common interest to get a deal.

There is a clear message from (European Commission) President Juncker and from the prime minister that a deal is doable

Stephen Barclay

The European Commission confirmed Mr Barnier and Mr Barclay had discussed the “state of play” on Brexit.

A statement explained: “It is essential that there is a fully workable and legally operational solution included in the withdrawal agreement.

“We remain willing and open to examine any such proposals that meet all the objectives of the backstop.”

BACK-STOPPED

Boris Johnson has said the UK needs to leave in a way that allows it to “do things differently” and “not remain under the control of the EU, in terms of laws and trade policy”.

Barclay’s EU summit came after Ireland played down the prospect of an imminent Brexit breakthrough, pointing to a “wide gap” between the PM’s position and Brussels.

Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy PM, said: “There are serious problems that arise because of the change in approach by the British Prime Minister – asking to remove a very significant section within the Withdrawal Agreement without any serious proposals as to how you solve those problems is not going to be the basis for an agreement.

“That’s why I think there is an onus on the British Government to come forward with alternative arrangements – if they have them – which can resolve the Irish border question.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Ireland is being asked to replace a “guarantee around that border question” with a promise that “somehow we’ll do our best”.

He said: “We want to find a solution, we want to get a deal, and we want to allow the UK to leave the EU in an orderly and sensible manner, but we cannot allow Ireland to be the collateral damage of that.

“I think for Britain to ask us to do that is a very unreasonable request, and it won’t be the basis of a deal.”

Stephen Barclay had a meeting with EU chiefs in Brussels this afternoon
AFP or licensors
Barclay with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier
AP:Associated Press

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