BREXIT: EU negotiator Michel Barnier said an agreement on Brexit is “still possible this week”.
An agreement on Brexit is “possible this week” with the United Kingdom to reach an amicable divorce, announced Tuesday in Luxembourg EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
“The discussions were intensive over the weekend and yesterday (Monday), and although it will be increasingly difficult, an agreement is still possible this week,” he said when he arrived in Luxembourg to inform the European Affairs Ministers before the European summit of 17 and 18 October.
“I will inform the ministers, to tell them where we are today. It is obvious that any agreement must work for everyone, that is for the whole of the United Kingdom and for the European Union. Let me also add that it is high time to turn good intentions into a legal text, “ he added.
“We must remain cautious”
Michel Barnier will be joined in Luxembourg by the British Minister of Brexit Steve Barclay, his interlocutor for the negotiations.
The head of the diplomacy of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, said he hoped for the conclusion of such an agreement. “For the Netherlands, it is extremely important that there is no unfair competition from outside the EU using the Irish-Irish border. The United Kingdom has taken some steps, but not enough to guarantee the integrity of the common market , “he said, hoping that additional measures will be taken ” in the coming hours “ .
“We must remain cautious. It’s not done, but we try, “ said a high-ranking European diplomat. “The British want an agreement and they have moved on the issue of customs and the right of scrutiny given to the local authorities in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“It will be necessary to see if it is enough to be translated into a legal text,” he added.
London and Brussels seek to agree on how to avoid, after Brexit, a return to a physical border between Northern Ireland, a British province, and the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, in order to preserve peace on the island, which has experienced several decades of violence.
The two points of disagreement are how to avoid the introduction of customs controls and the right of scrutiny given to the Northern Ireland authorities on the divorce agreement. On Thursday, the heads of state and government of the 27 will decide during their summit of the follow-up to give to the negotiations with London.