Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has expressed his optimism that a Brexit deal would be reached by this coming November. His remarks came as the discussions between the United Kingdom and the European Union were able to gain some pace over the past few days.
Talking to reporters in Austria this morning, Juncker indicated that while there remain some stumbling blocks, including the issue on the Irish border, a no-deal scenario must at all cost be avoided.
He stated: “I think we need to refrain from this scenario of a no-deal.”
He added: “That would not be good for the UK as it is for the rest of the union.”
Juncker continued: “I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days. But it can not be foreseen whether we will finish in October. If not, we’ll do it in November.
Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister, backed the assessment of Juncker. He suggested that a deal would be in place before the end of this year.
The comments of Juncker come after the talks in Brussels predicted that the two sides were “very close” to a deal being finalised after Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, offered an enhanced Canada-style trade deal to the United Kingdom last Thursday.
A negotiator from the meeting informed Reuters that progress had been made over some issues including how to enforce the exit agreement and the protection of goods from special origins.
Additionally, the source implied that the European Union may be in principle, open to the proposition of the United Kingdom, regarding an emergency Irish border fix prior to the meeting of the European leaders that is scheduled to happen in 11 days time.
The United Kingdom is set to leave the bloc on the 29th of March 2019.