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Brexit negotiators meet for breakfast after ‘pathway to deal’ opens

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The chief Brexit negotiators of the European Union and Britain met for breakfast on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart unexpectedly said they had found a pathway to a possible deal at last-ditch talks.

British Union Jack and EU flags are pictured before the meeting with Britain’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2019. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

With the United Kingdom due to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc on Oct. 31, Brexit remains deeply uncertain; it remains unclear on what terms it will leave or indeed whether it will leave at all.

In a tumultuous week, Brexit negotiations have shifted wildly, starting with a public row between London and Brussels and ending with a meeting cast as “very positive” by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier met British Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay for breakfast at the EU Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels in talks that could pave the way for a deal at an Oct. 17-18 summit.

“I think it is possible for us to come to an agreement, to have a treaty agreed, to allow the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion and to have that done by the end of October,” Varadkar told Irish reporters after the meeting.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said they could “see a pathway to a possible deal”, though officials on both sides were silent about what compromises – if any – had been made to break the Brexit deadlock over Ireland’s border.

To get a deal done, Johnson must tame the complexities of the Irish border before getting the approval of Europe’s biggest powers –

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