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‘Promising signals’ seen in the search for a Brexit agreement

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday that he had received “promising signals” from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar regarding the possibility of reaching an agreement on Brexit.

“The United Kingdom has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal,” Tusk said from the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, where he is on a working visit. “However, I’ve received promising signals from the Taoiseach (the Irish head of government) that a deal is still possible.”

“Even the slightest chance must be used,” he stressed, recalling that a no-deal would never be the EU’s choice.

For their part, the two Brexit negotiators, the EU’s Michel Barnier and Britain’s Stephen Barclay, met on Friday morning to assess prospects for unblocking the discussions. For the moment, no details have filtered through on the content of their meeting, which lasted close to two hours.

On Thursday, hopes for a deal had been rekindled momentarily after a meeting between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The two men said they had seen a way to reach a compromise on the thorny issue of the Irish border. However, they gave no explanations on the form such a solution could take.

A crucial European summit for Brexit will be held next week in Brussels, but, for now, the date for Britain’s withdrawal from the Union remains the 31st of October.

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