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British Brexit chief says deal with European Union could be reached by October

23 Juillet 2018

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 20, 2018.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator highlighted Gibraltar's future outside the bloc as one of the "important" pending issues that must be resolved by October before a withdrawal agreement can be concluded with the UK.

"A no deal would be catastrophic", he said.

"No technology solution to address these issues has been designed yet or implemented anywhere in the world, let alone in such a unique and highly sensitive context as the Northern Ireland border", she said. Davis also made threats over the payment in relation to the Northern Irish border.

She is vehemently opposed to any proposal that would keep Northern Ireland inside a customs union with the EU while the rest of the United Kingdom leaves.

"We have changed tack once, and we can change again", he said.

In a speech to politicians and business leaders in Belfast, May sought to turn the focus onto the European Union and the fate of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, one of the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

Barnier said that 80 percent of that agreement was already in place, but that there was still no agreement on how to avoid a hard Irish border after Britain leaves the bloc.

"We need to find the right place and right time to carry out checks to protect consumers and to protect the single market", he said.

The promise will be welcomed by leading Brexiteers after the Government said in May that there were no plans for a legally enforceable link between the bill and a future trading relationship.

The EU gave a lukewarm welcome to the paper.

Political correspondents in the Commons wrote that a number of Conservative rebels were seen to be herded into the offices of party managers and warned that if they backed Hammond's measure it would lead to a general election.

May rejected the idea, arguing it would create a border down the Irish Sea.

The EU has long complained that May has delayed the Brexit negotiations because internal bickering within her Conservative Party has brought her government to the brink of chaos.

Plus Barnier pointed to the "facilitated customs arrangement" whereby the United Kingdom would collect tariffs on behalf of the European Union, and how to avoid unfair competitive advantage for British firms if there is alignment on services.

However, questions still remain on the details of the vision which was set out.

The extent of Mrs May's reassurance to unionism may also be linked to next week's first meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference for more than a decade - a meeting about which some unionists have been nervous.

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier is also lukewarm on May's latest proposal, asking many questions about its viability Friday.

"But this is something we can resolve unilaterally by putting them on the visa free travel list".

Britons needn't worry about the prospect of no deal emerging, Raab said, when asked about how that might strand imports at borders, create the need to stockpile food, prevent airplanes from landing, or negate residency rights for Britons overseas or foreigners living in the U.K. While he expects to reach an accord, planning is underway in "every aspect" to make sure the country is prepared if he doesn't, he said.

British Brexit chief says deal with European Union could be reached by October