EU's Juncker hopes for Brexit deal in November Europe 17:15

EU's Juncker hopes for Brexit deal in November Europe 17:15

Senior figures in Brussels said that there was now "goodwill on both sides" and a realistic plan to solve the backstop question was being worked on.Sabine Weyand, the EU's deputy Brexit negotiator, told a meeting of European Union ambassadors: "Things have started moving".

So Shelagh Fogarty asked Mr Raab on Wednesday: "Does it bother you that Arlene Foster is starting to feel like the real European Union negotiator here?" "It makes finding a compromise possible".

He said: "If we do negotiate a Canada +++. minus. asterisk.'s going to take the transition period to negotiate that agreement".

A senior Whitehall source said: "This is gamesmanship by the EU".

I think a cliff-edge or a no-deal scenario is something we shouldn't even contemplate.

The EU is expecting the UK's new proposal on the Irish border to land next week. They are implacably opposed to any deal that separates Northern Ireland from Britain - and some kind of checks between the two may be needed in order to get a deal that avoids a new border emerging on the island of Ireland.

A seamless border is part of the settlement which largely ended decades of violence in the province.

But officials have been meeting behind the scenes before a key summit in Brussels on October 17 and 18.

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In Brussels on Thursday, Mr Varadkar welcomed the EU's "ongoing solidarity" with Ireland.

She also said at the end of September that a "No Deal" exit from the bloc would be better for the nation than a bad deal.

A majority of the Cabinet reportedly now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal over Mrs May's plan to keep the country tied to European Union rules on goods, therefore hindering an independent trade policy.

Under the British proposal described by European Union sources, that would remove the need for customs checks on goods and agriculture on the island of Ireland.

The small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that props up Britain's minority Conservative government strongly resists any suggestion that there may need to be regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The bloc worries that London would use whatever special trade fix is agreed for Northern Ireland as a building block for the overall future trade relationship to win an unfair competitive edge. Instead it would describe the arrangement as being "as frictionless as possible".

That, in turn, is a hard one for Britain where Prime Minister Theresa May's government relies on the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which vehemently opposes differing rules on its soil from the rest of the United Kingdom. Barnier is due to meet the DUP head Arlene Foster next week. We also need to agree on a political statement that accompanies this withdrawal agreement.

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