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Barclay is optimistic after the meeting with Barnier while Brussels insists on a viable solution for Ireland

September 20, 2019


The British minister for Brexit, Steve Barclay, has shown his optimism after the meeting with the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, stating that he sees an agreement possible and emphasizing that the fact that the meeting has lasted longer than expected shows that both parties are reaching the “details”, while the European Commission has insisted on claiming a “completely viable” and “legally operational” solution to avoid a 'hard' border on the island of Ireland.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Barclay said they had a “detailed” discussion with Barnier and his team and responded in the affirmative when asked if he believes, like Jean-Claude Juncker, that it is still possible to arrive to an agreement that allows an orderly Brexit.

“Yes, that's why we are working so hard to have an agreement,” he replied. “The meeting was longer than expected and I think this points to the fact that we are getting to the detail,” he added, and then explain that Brussels and London will continue next week with contacts at the technical level.

In the same way, it has advanced that the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, are expected to meet at the margins of the UN General Assembly, a fact that in Barclay's opinion highlights that both sides want to reach an agreement.

Next week's technical contacts, the European Commission explained in a statement, will be based on the “first set of concepts, principles and ideas” that the United Kingdom has presented to the Community authorities.

However, Brussels has insisted that it is “essential” that the Withdrawal Agreement include a “fully viable” and “legally operational” solution for the island of Ireland that can replace the current safeguard, known as 'backstop' in Community jargon .

Barclay has acknowledged that the Irish issue is the most complicated to solve in order to reach an agreement that avoids a chaotic Brexit on October 31, but has stressed at the same time that both Juncker and Johnson have conveyed the “clear message” that The pact is “feasible.”

“We are moving forward with momentum,” said the British minister for Brexit, after stressing that “there is still much to do” but also “there is a common goal of securing an agreement.”