The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay had a “constructive” meeting on Brexit today, an EU Commission spokesperson said.
“We are working towards a deal,” said the spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva. “If there is a will, there is a way.”
Barnier told assembled reporters that Brexit negotiations were like mountaineering.
“Brexit is like climbing a mountain. You need vigilance, determination and patience,” he said.
The meeting between the pair follows an Anglo-Irish summit yesterday between Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar.
Following the meeting the pair issued a joint statement which said they see “a pathway to a possible deal”.
Earlier today, European Council President Donald Tusk said he had received “promising signals” from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Brexit.
Tusk tweeted “The UK has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal. But I have received promising signals from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that a deal is possible. Even the slightest chance must be used. A no deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU.”
Johnson will need the approval of all EU leaders for any deal he manages to strike when the member states gather in Brussels on 17 and 18 October.
Otherwise parliament’s Benn Act would force Johnson to seek a Brexit delay from the EU, pushing the UK’s departure date back to 31 January.
“It is possible for us to come to an agreement, to have a treaty to allow the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion, and to have that done by the end of October, but there’s many a slip between cup and lip,” Varadkar said yesterday.
Politicians declined to comment on an Irish Times report that the UK had made “significant movement” on its customs policy.
Johnson has pledged to no border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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