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Brexit deal possible this week but we’re not there yet – Irish deputy PM

by Ace Damon
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission headquarters

Today´s Deals

A deal on Brexit may be possible this week, but "we are not there yet," said the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland.

As the clock is getting closer to the October 31 deadline, Simon Coveney said that "we need to be cautious" and give the negotiating teams "time and space".

"This is not an easy job," he added.

EU warns that "much work remains"

UK and EU officials continue talking in Brussels on Monday, ahead of a crucial summit on Thursday and Friday.

Boris Johnson's spokesman said there was still "a lot of work" to be done and discussions "remain constructive".

"In terms of the substance of the negotiations, I will not go into them. I think it is important that people have room for the negotiations to move forward," he said.

The prime minister informed his office on Sunday, telling them that there was "way to a deal" but there was still "a significant amount of work to get there."

In a conference call, he also said they still need to be prepared to leave on Halloween without a deal.

House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested that the government is preparing to make deals to reach a deal – telling Sky News that it may have to "eat my words."

Speaking Monday morning in Luxembourg, Coveney said: "At Brexit, the less we say now, the better.

"But we need to give time and space to (EU negotiator) Michel Barnier, his task force and the British negotiating team.

"I think it is very clear what we are trying to do, but there are very detailed technical discussions now and I think we need to give the time and space for that to happen."

"I hope we can make progress in those today."

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Corbyn calls for caution amid rumors of Brexit advance

Coveney called for caution, saying, "This is not an easy job."

"We spent three years trying to reach an agreement between the two sides and made progress at different times.

"But surely the last number of months has been difficult.

"So I think, as my Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) said, a deal is possible, and it is possible this month, it may even be possible this week. But we are not there yet.

"And, as Michel Barnier said yesterday, there is still a lot of work to do, so I hope we can make more progress today."

Sky's deputy political editor Sam Coates explores the plan for Northern Ireland, while the EU and the UK government start intense negotiations.

What is the last customs plan?

The issue of avoiding returning to a difficult border on the island of Ireland remains the starting point in the negotiations.

Johnson wants to get rid of the backstop, an insurance policy designed to keep the border between the two countries open, if the two sides can't resolve the problem before Brexit takes full effect.

Barnier is reported to be concerned about the complexity of a British proposal to keep Northern Ireland within the UK customs territory while avoiding the need for border controls.

The EU side would have expressed doubts about a scheme that would involve tracking goods as they move through Northern Ireland and then calculating which fare needs to be paid, depending on where they end up.

If there is no decisive advance this week, negotiations could continue, with the possibility of an emergency summit just a few days before the deadline to finally approve a last-minute deal.

Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier

EU optimistic when negotiations on new deals enter critical phase

But legislation passed by opposition MPs last month obliges the prime minister to seek an extension of Brexit if he fails to reach a deal by October 19 – on Saturday.

Labor pledged to force Johnson to comply with the law, including prosecution if necessary.

The scenario is set for Saturday's clash at Commons, the first in 37 years.

Downing Street said the prime minister will have to decide on Wednesday whether or not to propose that parliament meet that day.

:: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday at Apple Podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation has announced that measures to manage Kent highway traffic ahead of the possible Brexit without agreement will be implemented later this month.

Operation Brock will take effect on October 28, three days before the current Brexit deadline.

Trucks traveling to Europe will face a speed limit of 30km / h on a 21km stretch of the M20 highway.

All other traffic, including trucks delivering to the UK, will have to use a two-lane 50 km / h counterflow in each direction on the London side.

A number of truck parking areas will also be available if required, including at Manston Airfield.

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