Tusk: Brexit deal could be signed this year

Tusk: Brexit deal could be signed this year

Tusk: Brexit deal could be signed this year

But for that to happen there would need to be a resolution to the major sticking point, the so-called "backstop" plan for Northern Ireland.

She added: "We asserted our common position that the "backstop" as already agreed must be maintained and is the absolute bottom line for Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and Green Party".

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, speaking in Brussels on Thursday, has stressed no new proposals have been made on paper and that they should come well ahead of the European Union summit in less than two weeks to leave enough time for analysis.

'I have hope close to certainty that we will manage to reach an agreement both on exit and on best possible future relations. The EU is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace. We believe it is possible to find the balance and the compromise to get this done.

The add-ons will include counter-terrorism cooperation, foreign policy and defence coordination, and other ways in which Britain and the European Union will work together, such as on recognition of each other's social security and qualifications systems, agreements on transport connectivity and some reciprocal arrangements to allow people to work in each other's territories.

But Tusk said he wouldn't change his approach to negotiations, saying: "Telling the truth, even if hard and unpleasant, is the best way of showing respect for partners". I do not interfere in inner Cabinet debates in the UK.

Mr Juncker said his main focus was on securing a deal which was possible within the outer deadline of a special European Union leaders' summit on November 17 and 18.

Mr Tusk also referenced the less comprehensive Canada-style trading deal as advocated by Brexiteers like Boris Johnson and David Davis.

The EU signalled on Thursday it was engaging with new proposals emerging in Britain on avoiding extensive Irish border checks after Brexit, a potential deal-breaker in the unprecedented talks to end Britain's four decades in the bloc.

The parties, who will also meet EU Brexit coordinator and ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt, have voiced concerns about the impact of Brexit on the province.

Under the plan, the whole of the United Kingdom would remain within an EU-wide single customs regime until the technology could be proved to work to ensure that there was no need for a hard border in Ireland.

European Union sources said yesterday that negotiators saw the outline of a compromise on the Irish border issue, raising hopes that a new British offer could unlock a deal with less than 180 days before Britain leaves the trading bloc.

Related news