Time is running out for Boris Johnson who has said a no-deal Brexit would represent a failure on all sides.
The Prime Minister is determined to leave the European Union on October 31 “do or die” – and while a no-deal departure looks increasingly likely as the clock ticks down, Mr Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agree they can still “see a pathway to a possible deal”.
The PA news agency has a look at what will happen next and what a no-deal Brexit actually means.
– What is the problem?
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said they have yet to see any “operational, legally binding solution” to the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Mr Varadkar both expressed concern that the return of customs controls threatened the Good Friday Agreement guarantee to maintain an open border with the Republic.
But Mr Johnson has insisted that his Brexit plan is a “fair and reasonable compromise” that all sides can agree on.
Political parties in Northern Ireland, not counting the DUP, have also expressed major concerns, with Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill saying the proposals “drive a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement.
– Is there long left to sort things out?
The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on October 31 but the EU heads of government summit in Brussels on October 17/18 will be crucial.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is meeting EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Friday.
And the talks will be key to assessing if the meeting between the PM and Taoiseach resulted in any kind of breakthrough that could be built on ahead of the summit.
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