European Union promises United Kingdom unparalleled partnership for amicable Brexit



M Barnier's comments followed shortly after separate comments from Mr Raab in the House of Lords.

"I think it's had a reasonably positive landing, we're getting a lot of constructive engagement, and. a lot of talk about the practical considerations rather than "in principle" dismissal, and I think that's valuable from our point of view", Raab told the Lordes EU Committee.

Michel Barnier said it was a matter of "urgency" to agree the wording of a plan that would maintain the status quo on the Irish border, and gave no ground on the EU's controversial demand that the backstop apply only to Northern Ireland.

"With (Other OTC: WWTH - news) no backstop, we will not be able to have an agreement".

The European Union's Michel Barnier said it was "possible" to get an agreement in time for a summit of all the bloc's leaders in Brussels on October 18-19, though a delay into November was also possible.

Michel Barnier is refusing to back down on erecting a border in the Irish Sea to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and has publicly asked the British government for data to prove that the checks on goods flowing within the territory of the United Kingdom would be few in number.

Politicians fear that a return to customs checks and police on the land frontier between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic would revive memories of violence in the past, potentially endangering the peace. "It's essential to conclude negotiations because as I've said, without a backstop, there can be no agreement".

"The backstop is critical", he insisted.

Mr Raab promised any deal on the border would be "workable" for the nearby communities it would affect most.

European Union leaders will meet on 18 October, and while agreement on a withdrawal deal is no longer seen as likely by that data, Mr Raab said that he wanted to continue "accelerating and intensifying" negotiations.

The backstop is a safety net agreed in December that guarantees an invisible border, though there is no agreement to this date on how it will work.

But both conceded the biggest issues remain unresolved.

"The solutions must be workable".

Mr Barnier warned that a deal must be signed by "November at the latest".

Raab said he wanted to continue "accelerating and intensifying" negotiations, adding: "I am stubbornly optimistic that a deal is within our reach".

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