Thu | Aug 13, 2020

EU, Britain to intensify talks on a Brexit deal

Published:Friday | October 11, 2019 | 10:14 AM
UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay (left) shakes hands with European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier before their meeting at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Friday, October 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says it has agreed with the United Kingdom to “intensify” Brexit negotiations in a belated attempt to reach a divorce deal ahead of October 31, when Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc.

The EU announcement came after EU Council President Donald Tusk vowed that the 27 nations would make another push for a deal following a constructive meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay already laid the groundwork for intensified talks earlier on Friday.

On Monday, the EU will again take stock to assess the chances of a Brexit deal.

Economists say a no-deal Brexit would hurt both the UK and the EU economies.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier says that he had a “constructive meeting” with British Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and underscored the cautious optimism since Thursday’s meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.

Barnier was to brief EU ambassadors and key legislators later Friday, amid a sense that there remains a glimmer of hope to get an amicable divorce deal with Britain.

The deadline is October 31 but there could also be an extension.

Three years since the UK voted to leave the EU, Barnier has learned to keep his cards close to his chest.

“Brexit is like climbing a mountain. We need vigilance, determination and patience,” said the man who once organiser the 1992 Winter Olympics in his region of France.

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