Brexit deal may be possible, no guarantee of success - EU’s Tusk

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The European Union says it has agreed with the United Kingdom to "intensify" Brexit negotiations in a belated attempt to reach a divorce deal ahead of October 31, when Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc.

Downing Street is understood to have shared details of the proposed compromise privately with European Union negotiators, which paved the way for detailed formal talks to begin ahead of next week's meeting of European Union leaders.

The UK presented alternative plans last week which would see Northern Ireland remains in the customs union for goods and agri-food products with physical checks to be conducted away from the border.

In a statement on Friday, Mrs Foster said the party, whose support will be key to getting a Brexit deal through Parliament, would only back a deal that is in Northern Ireland's "long-term economic and constitutional interests".

The European Commission has confirmed that the EU and British teams "have agreed to intensify discussions over the coming day", but according to CNN reporter Bianca Nobilo this falls short of "secret tunnel talks", and is "more of a journey into Plato's cave".

He added: "Brexit is like climbing a mountain. We need vigilance, determination and patience", said the man who once organized the 1992 Winter Olympics in his Savoie region of France. With less than three weeks left, there is still no deal agreed between Britain and the European Union over the Brexit issue.

'I have received promising signals from the Taoiseach that a deal is still possible, ' Mr Tusk said.

The pair are attempting to strike a deal before the proposed Brexit date of October 31.

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A no-deal Brexit is forecast to reduce the country's GDP growth to 4.7 percent in 2019, 0.8 percent in 2020 and 1.9 percent in 2021, it said, adding that the reduction in employment growth in the no-deal forecast would imply 73,000 fewer jobs in Ireland by the end-2021 compared to a scenario where there is a deal.

Ms Foster acknowledged there had been a lot of speculation as to what had happened during the Prime Minister's meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in England.

De Montchalin said in an interview with France Inter radio that even Britain's scheduled departure date of October 31 remains realistic since she does not see an obvious reason to grant a further extension to the United Kingdom.

Tusk, speaking in Nicosia, said "for the first time" Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a pathway toward a divorce deal for Britain's departure from the European Union.

Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier were dispatched after the two prime ministers held face-to-face discussions in the Wirral yesterday, prompting the leaders to "see a pathway" to a possible agreement.

"The ludicrous element is that we do not even know what is inside this deal that has made everyone so optimistic about everything", Aslam said. "Technical talks are taking place in Brussels as we speak".

Mrs. Foster went on to say that anything concerning Northern Ireland and Brexit could only be considered as credible if it commands cross community support from both unionists and nationalists.

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