Brexit deal expected by November - Juncker

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but to date there is no deal regulating the break-up. There is still no agreement on several issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border.

Prospects of a Brexit deal have improved
Prospects of a Brexit deal have improved

The chance of the UK and the EU agreeing a Brexit deal has grown in the last few days, the head of the European Commission has said.

Speaking to the Austrian press, Jean-Claude Juncker said that while he was not sure an agreement could be reached by October, it could be by November.

British Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan also expressed optimism that a deal could be reached before December.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, but to date there is no deal regulating the break-up. There is still no agreement on several issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border.

Asked in an interview whether an agreement could be reached at the next meeting of European leaders in 11 days' time, Juncker said: "We are not that far yet. But our will is unbroken to reach agreement with the British government."

Junker also reiterated his position that a no-deal scenario "would not be good" for either the UK or the EU.

EU officials gave an upbeat assessment of progress in the negotiations on Friday evening and reported a better atmosphere in talks over the Irish border.

It comes weeks after the head of the European Council Donald Tusk said Theresa May's Brexit plans were unworkable.

Both sides had hoped to finalise the so-called divorce agreement and agree a statement on their future economic co-operation by the October summit.

But last month, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that if both sides were "realistic" there could be an agreement by November, when a special one-off summit has been arranged.

 

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