EU: Brexit deal growing more likely, talks with UK extended
Brussels: The European Union said Friday that talks with the UK to find an amicable divorce deal were back on track, despite huge challenges and a looming end-of-month deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.
EU Council President Donald Tusk said he has "received promising signals" from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that a Brexit deal is still possible, so he has extended a deadline to continue the Brexit talks.
Tusk, speaking in Nicosia, said "for the first time" Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw a pathway toward a deal. He said that "even the slightest chance must be used" to get a deal.
Originally, Tusk said he was planning to pull the plug on talks today, but because of the breakthrough he can now see talks going through the weekend, ahead of the EU's two-day summit, which starts next Thursday. Tusk said "there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up" but insisted both sides should use every opportunity available ahead of Britain's scheduled Oct. 31 departure date.
"A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU," Tusk said. Highlighting the upbeat mood, Johnson's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, got a warm welcome from EU negotiator Michel Barnier before they started almost two hours of talks around breakfast.