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Johnson's major U-turn sets up 48 hours to clinch Brexit deal | The Guardian |

Boris Johnson has signalled that he will make a last-ditch U-turn on his plans for the Irish border, setting up 48 hours of intense negotiations that will make or break a Brexit deal.

On a day of rapid movement in talks, EU sources said the prime minister had conceded that there could not be a customs border on the island of Ireland - a critical step away from his previous position.

That came after European ambassadors prompted tentative hope of a deal by giving the green light for what some diplomats described as a "tunnel" discussion in which a small team of negotiators meet for intensive talks to find a break-through moment. The Democratic Unionist party and European Research Group (ERG), a group of rightwing Conservatives, later issued statements promising flexibility, keeping hope alive that Johnson could find support for a new offer in the House of Commons.

Johnson refuses to rule out Northern Ireland staying in the customs union

"I think it would be wrong of me to give a running commentary on the negotiations," Johnson said. "With the greatest possible respect I think, look at everything I've said previously. I think you can draw your own conclusions from that. But let our negotiators get on."

EU, Britain enter intense Brexit talks as UK departure date looms | Reuters |

A diplomat and an EU official said Barnier had told member states that Britain had changed its position to now accept that the proposed replacement to the so-called "backstop" cannot erect a customs border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Separately, two senior EU diplomats told Reuters the possible solution could include two elements: keeping Northern Ireland inside the UK's customs regime while also carrying out any customs and regulatory checks together.

Under a recent UK proposal, the regulatory border would run down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain. The sources said they understood that customs checks could be carried out there as well under the plan now under discussion.

DUP vows to kill off Brexit deal if Boris Johnson keeps Northern Ireland in customs union | The Independent |

    Despite the news, Donald Tusk, the European Council president, warned on Friday that current UK proposals were neither "workable" nor "realistic".

    The decision to enter a tunnel came after Mr Barnier briefed EU27 ambassadors on the results of morning's talks. The diplomats, representing EU member states, agreed that signs of movement were promising enough to warrant the "tunnel".

    Taking stock around lunchtime, Michel Barnier told reporters: "Brexit is like climbing a mountain. We need vigilance, determination and patience."



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 08:06:36 PM EST

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