Juncker hopes to reach Brexit deal in November


European Union sources said on Thursday that negotiators saw the outline of a compromise on the Irish border issue, raising hopes that a new British offer could unlock a deal with less than 180 days before Britain leaves the trading bloc.

Brexit negotiators need to "lock themselves into a room" for the next two weeks to hammer out a deal, Ireland's deputy prime minister has insisted.

Speaking to reporters in Austria this morning, Juncker signalled that while there remains some stumbling blocks, such as the Irish border issue, a no-deal scenario must be avoided. The UK is expected to present a new solution next week.

The two sides are trying to push the divorce deal as well as an agreement on post-Brexit relations over the line in time for leaders' summits scheduled for October 17-18 and November 17-18. "We want there to be decisive progress at the October summit, so that allows us to seal a deal in November", he said.

LONDON-The chances of Britain and the European Union striking a Brexit deal on their divorce are rising, one of the bloc's leaders said, amid reports the two sides are moving closer on the fraught issue of the Irish border. Otherwise, it would undermine the integrity of the single market.

Any such compromise would leave the European Union worrying that Britain could use Northern Ireland's special access to the bloc's single market to sell cheaper goods that would not adhere to European Union labour, environment and other standards.

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This would be "much further reaching on trade, on internal security and on foreign policy co-operation" than Canada's arrangement, he said.

Mr Eastwood said: "The time to deliver on a deal is now". The final version will be considered a "joint statement".

But Britain would stick to its line that, in case a backstop is triggered, the whole of the United Kingdom would stay in a customs union together with the EU.

Raab said there needed to be a solution that would protect the integrity of the United Kingdom and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and European Union member the Republic of Ireland, adding that Britain would work on technological solutions to avoid such a border.

The European Council president - a former prime minister of Poland who was imprisoned as a young man living behind the Iron Curtain - made a clear reference to Mr Hunt's controversial remarks after meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Brussels.

Foster added that the Good Friday Agreement - which removed all checkpoints between Ireland and Northern Ireland - was not sacrosanct and could be amended to accommodate Brexit.

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