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Irish premier says all eyes on Brussels for deadlock breakthrough

Leo Varadkar was speaking after his meeting with Boris Johnson created a ‘pathway’ to a possible Brexit deal.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Peter Byrne/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Peter Byrne/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Irish premier says he expects proposals will be made after EU and UK negotiators met in Brussels.

Face-to-face talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday are understood to have gone better than expected, and the two leaders released a joint statement saying they could “see a pathway” to a possible agreement after a three-hour long meeting in Merseyside.

“I think at this stage probably the less said the better,” Mr Varadkar said, speaking in Dublin on Friday morning.

“The focus today very much switches to Brussels where Secretary Barclay is going to meet with Michel Barnier and I’d anticipate that will lead to some more detailed proposals being made, and the possible talks to enter the proverbial tunnel, but that’s kind of where things stand today.”

Donald Tusk has welcomed the “promising signals” from Mr Varadkar that a new deal may be possible, as Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay held key talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Mr Barnier.

Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier met in Brussels on Friday morning as chances of a breakthrough appeared to rise.

The unexpectedly cordial atmosphere of the meeting between the two prime ministers led to speculation of a possible compromise on the contentious issue of the Northern Ireland border backstop.

Dramatic progress could lead to the start of so-called intensive “tunnel” negotiations in the coming days ahead of the crunch EU heads of government summit on October 17 and 18.