- The EU and the UK are reportedly “closing in” on a Brexit deal.
- Bloomberg report that talks could conclude as early as Tuesday amid suggestions of a breakthrough in Brussels.
- Talks re-opened following a crucial meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Prime Minster Leo Varadkar last week.
- Varadkar poured cold water on a deal being imminent, telling reporters that the gap between the UK and EU on the issue of customs was “still quite wide.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
LONDON — The European Union is reportedly close to agreeing a new Brexit deal with the United Kingdom.
EU sources on Tuesday afternoon told Bloomberg that negotiators were “closing in” on a deal, with an agreement possible before the end of the day.
The agreement is reported to hinge on Johnson agreeing that there should be a new customs border down the Irish sea, which his government was previously opposed to.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar this afternoon confirmed that negotiators were making progress.
However, he cast doubt over whether both sides could finalise a deal in time for the European Council summit on Thursday.
“Initial indications are that we are making progress, that the negotiations are moving in the right direction, but whether we’ll be able to conclude a revised Withdrawal Agreement – which after all is an international treaty – for the summit on Thursday, that’s as of now unclear,” the Taoiseach said.
He added that there was still a “quite wide” gap between the UK and EU on the subject of customs.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, had given the UK a deadline of midnight in order to agree a deal in time for the summit in Brussels.
Under a piece UK law called the Benn Act, Johnson needs to win a parliamentary vote on a Brexit deal before Saturday October 19, or he will be obliged to seek an extension to the current Brexit deadline of October 31.
The prime minister cancelled a planned meeting of his cabinet on Tuesday morning, due to talks intensifying overnight.
He also called in Conservative MPs who strongly opposed the previous Brexit deal into Downing Street on Tuesday, as reports of a possible breakthrough emerged.
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Talks re-opened this week following a breakthrough meeting between Johnson and the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar last week.
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