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Brexit deal could be done 'within weeks'

Michael Barnier. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Barnier. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

By Cormac McQuinn

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier has said a deal with the UK is possible "within six to eight weeks".

Speaking at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia yesterday, Mr Barnier's comments renewed optimism that a Brexit deal will be reached.

"If we are realistic, I want to reach an agreement on the first stage of the negotiation, which is the Brexit treaty, within six or eight weeks," he said.

"The treaty is clear, we have two years to reach an agreement before they leave... in March 2019.

"That means that taking into account the time necessary for the ratification process in the House of Commons on one side, the European Parliament and the Council on the other side, we must reach an agreement before the beginning of November.

"I think it is possible."

But, he said, a major sticking point remains managing the Irish border, where Brussels has said London's proposals to avoid undermining either peace in Northern Ireland or the EU's single market regulations have so far been unrealistic.

Belfast Telegraph

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