Brexit negotiations to take place this weekend ahead of European Union summit

Brexit negotiations to take place this weekend ahead of European Union summit

The accelerated negotiations were agreed to by the EU27 after a "constructive meeting" between the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay in Brussels today.

The prime minister put forward revised proposals for a deal last week, created to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

"The UK has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal", said European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday, though he added that he had received "promising signals" from Varadkar.

The compromise would mean that Northern Ireland would be able to benefit from any post-Brexit trade deals the United Kingdom strikes in a major win for Mr Johnson.

He said there was not "a done deal", adding: "The best thing we can do now is let our negotiators get on with it".

"And I do see a pathway towards an agreement in the coming weeks".

Of course, nothing has been confirmed yet- and all optimism should be cautious, because if Mr Johnson did indeed make such a huge concession, it's likely that Mr Varadkar also had to do so.

"If Boris Johnson does manage to negotiate a deal then we will insist that it is put back to the people in a confirmatory vote", he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson will challenge MPs to back any deal he has secured from Brussels when parliament sits on a weekend next Saturday for the first time in nearly four decades, The Times has reported.

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Negotiators for Britain and the European Union have entered intense talks over the weekend to see if they can break the Brexit impasse after Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar held talks this week and agreed they could see a pathway to a possible deal.

After a meeting in northwest England on Thursday Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar said they had "agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal". "That kind of deal can never be one Labour supports", he said.

Following the briefing, representatives from the 27 member states gave Barnier the green light to "intensify" talks.

British and European Union negotiators plan to work through the weekend to see if they can agree a Brexit deal in time for next week's summit of EU leaders.

Barnier was expected to brief the European Parliament's Brexit Steering group on progress on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman at Johnson's office declined to comment.

"Brexit is like climbing a mountain".

The EU Commision later confirmed that the EU and the United Kingdom will now "intensify discussions over the coming days", reaffirming their position that a "legally operative" solution was required to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland - the main sticking point for Brussels.

Varadkar's words Thursday indicated that Johnson might have shifted his red lines and could now be willing to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.

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