European Commission chief said that the chances of Britain and European Bloc striking a Brexit deal are high as both the sides are moving close on the challenging Irish border issue. While delivering his State of Union speech at European Parliament at Strasbourg, Mr. Jean Claude Junker said to three Austrian news agencies that “rapprochement potential of both sides has increased as they move closer to an agreement.” Negotiations faltered when British PM Therese May’s proposal last month for post-Brexit economic relations was considered unacceptable by EU.
Both the sides have been trading barbs since the standoff with some EU leaders demanded an apology from British Foreign Secy. Jeremy Hunt for comparing EU to Soviet Union. To maintain relations, officials have met at several locations to lay the groundwork for peaceful accord before a key summit scheduled on 17 and 18 Oct at Brussels. Another tentative meeting has also been scheduled for November if discussions still need to be completed before the deal is finalized. EU leaders are firm about the fact that major progress has to happen during these meetings to have a deal in place before Britain leaves the European Union for good in March 2019.
The deal between EU and Britain has to be completed within weeks during the meeting as only then the parliaments of both the signatories can approve it before the March deadline. Speaking on the issue, president of EU Council Donald Tusk stated that during the October meeting, they will try to either finish the deal or bring positions as close as possible. The main pain point of the deal is to ensure that there are no custom or border posts between the UK’s Northern Ireland and Ireland. While both sides agree that the border has to be kept open, they have not arrived at a consensus about how it should be carried out. This impasse has renewed fears that the UK could move out of the EU block without a deal.