British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet his Irish counterpart for last-ditch Brexit talks on Thursday, with just days left to strike an European Union divorce deal and both sides blaming each other for the impasse.
He later added: "The reason the Prime Minister is meeting Leo Varadkar isn't simply to have a social conversation, they are seriously focused on trying to resolve this issue and trying to get a deal on which basis we can leave the European Union".
Mr Barnier said the European Union side would continue to work in a "calm" and "constructive" manner to try to find an agreement.
Despite time apparently running out, the pair said they could "see a pathway to a possible deal", in a joint statement after the "constructive" talks.
"I had a very good meeting with the prime minister. very positive and very promising", Varadkar said on Thursday.
Johnson says he won't delay Brexit past October 31 - but also will obey the law.
"The risk of a no-deal Brexit every few months is weighing on both investment and consumer spending", said Andrew Wishart, an economist at Capital Economics in a note.
"I think the reason for not having a general election is that if you want to resolve Brexit and there's a deadlock in Parliament, and Parliament can't agree over Brexit and therefore you have to go back to the people to break the deadlock, then a general election in my view is the wrong way to decide that", said the unpopular Iraq War architect, somewhat nonsensically.
The two leaders believe a deal "is in everybody's interest", Downing Street said in a statement that seemed to give momentum to a meeting scheduled Friday between Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Johnson and Varadkar are due to meet on Thursday.
A senior diplomat dismissed the Times report as "spin" in the negotiations, while another official said that "no bold new offer is coming from the European Union side at this stage".
Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels, he said Boris Johnson's proposals to avoid the return of a hard border with the Irish Republic were based on a system "that hasn't been properly developed, that hasn't been tested". They agreed they could see a pathway to a possible deal.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar has said there remain issues over "consent and democracy" as well as ensuring there's no customs border on the island of Ireland.
The Prime Minister has said that while he will abide by the law, he is determined to leave on the Halloween deadline come what may.
We would therefore look for any leaks or unattributed briefings to the media detailing the contents of the meeting to potentially come through: both the United Kingdom and Ireland have been accused of leaking details of Brexit discussions over recent weeks and it appears that leaks are a useful way for negotiators to test the political waters.
"As far as the Irish government is concerned, we do want a deal, we're willing to work hard to get a deal, to work until the last moment to get a deal, but certainly not at any cost".
The last official move we knew is that when asked to sign a letter officially asking Brussels for an extension, thus making the Benn Law effective, a Scottish court chose to delay this move until after the European Union Summit, claiming that it couldn't reach an official decision until after the political debate has "played out".
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