British Prime Minister Boris Johnson | Pool photo by Alastair Grant/AFP via Getty Images
‘No breakthrough yet’ as intensive Brexit talks continue
Negotiators are still trying to find agreement on how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, diplomats say.
Updated 10/13/19, 9:02 PM CET
Brexit talks between Brussels and London will continue until Wednesday as the two sides are yet to reach a breakthrough on key issues related to the Irish border, according to diplomats.
EU27 ambassadors were briefed on Sunday afternoon by the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, on intensive talks held between the EU and U.K. over the weekend, and negotiators are still trying to find agreement on how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, diplomats say.
“No breakthrough yet, but the good news is: intensive talks are continuing,” an EU diplomat said.
Negotiators have been working on several potential solutions including a deal that would in effect keep Northern Ireland in the U.K.’s customs territory but apply EU tariff rates at its external border, although officials say it is still unclear how this will work.
Diplomats say they are still “cautiously optimistic” that a deal can be reached although they also say they are “skeptical” it can be done by Wednesday when EU27 ambassadors will meet again to discuss the state of play ahead of a two-day European Council summit of EU leaders starting Thursday.
“If the British government wants a solution, it must move quickly now.