Johnson and Varadkar say they can 'see pathway' to Brexit deal

"The prime minister and the Taoiseach will meet tomorrow at lunchtime in the north west of England to discuss Brexit", a spokesperson for Johnson's Downing Road workplace stated, referring to the Irish chief.

Meanwhile, the European Union's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will be meeting with UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay today as both sides are saying that the chances of reaching a divorce deal look increasingly slim.

The UK's business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar remain "seriously focused" on trying to get a deal.

There is however no clear route available to Johnson to deliver a "no deal" Brexit on October 31, and this is perhaps what would make such an outcome a surprising one that might have extremely significant consequences for foreign exchange markets.

While Ireland would be very badly affected by a no-deal Brexit, the relative importance of Ireland in the negotiations up-ends nearly a thousand years of history in which Dublin has had a much weaker hand than London.

"We are looking for a more important role for the Northern Irish institutions to ensure that the Good Friday or Belfast agreement is respected", he said.

With Britain due to leave the bloc on October 31, the comments by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were aimed more at sidestepping any blame for whatever the final outcome of the increasingly intractable divorce than signalling a deal was in the making. "I do see a pathway to an agreement in coming weeks".

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The Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is struggling to find momentum this morning as markets brace for an upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.

Ahead of next week's crucial EU summit, Mr Barnier told the European Parliament he had yet to see any "operational, legally binding solution" to the issue of the backstop.

The UK's Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay will spend Thursday in Brussels with his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier.

Talks with the European Union to reach an agreement on Britain's departure have hit an impasse over the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland if a future trade deal falls short of keeping the border open. Northern Ireland would leave the EU's customs area along with the rest of the United Kingdom and the province's institutions would be able to opt to exit the regulatory zone - a step too far for Ireland and the EU.

"All of those who are not playing his game are traitors, collaborators or surrenders", said the former Belgian prime minister.

"This will be a private meeting to allow both leaders and their teams to have detailed discussions", the offices of both leaders said in identical statements.

Varadkar told Ireland´s parliament Wednesday that he would work "until the last moment" to get a deal, but added: "certainly not at any cost".

  • Sonia Alvarado