Brexit deal getting closer, European Commission chief says

New British proposal for Irish border ‘step in right direction’: EU source

Britain's Brexit ministry said on Friday that the country's integrity would be preserved as part of any deal and that there would be no new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom unless the province's executive agree.

Asked if he thought a deal would be finalised at the summit, Mr Juncker said: "I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days".

The risk is that because the EU's plan doesn't include frictionless trade across the EU-UK border, it will focus more attention on the most controversial part of the divorce deal - how to keep the Irish border open.

"And we won't be the only prisoner that will want to leave", he added.

At last month's European Union summit in Salzburg, Mr Tusk rejected Theresa May's Brexit proposals and sparked anger among some Tories with an Instagram post apparently poking fun at the prime minister and suggesting she was "cherry picking".

Any deal between May and fellow European Union leaders must be endorsed by both the European Union and British parliaments, another hurdle to clear to avoid the most damaging scenario of Britain leaving the bloc with not much in place to mitigate the economic shock.

Mr Coveney's rebuke came as Dublin urged Mrs May to bring forward her proposals to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks over the Northern Ireland border.

The EU's vision for future ties with Britain will contain "about 30%-40%" of May's pitch for a wide-ranging trade and security deal, according to two of the diplomats.

Melania Trump promotes U.S. agency, Trump wants to cut funding
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"This offer remains in place".

But Tusk said he wouldn't change his approach to negotiations, saying: "Telling the truth, even if hard and unpleasant, is the best way of showing respect for partners".

He said: "If she is rolling back on her pledge that there will be no barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, then the Prime Minister should be under no illusions; we will vote against her deal and it will go nowhere".

Deadlines in European Union talks are notoriously elastic, and Mr Juncker told Austrian media that if an agreement was not reached at the 17 and 18 October summit, he was confident it could be done in November.

"Negotiations are not easy because we also have to be critical that we receive different signals from London", Juncker said, addressing the Austrian parliament.

European Union sources said yesterday 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.

Recently there have been hints that May "will propose measures that could bind Northern Ireland to the bloc's standards on goods, if other attempts to avoid a hard border failed, so ensuring there would be no need for checks on north-south trade".

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