News is emerging from Brussels that a Brexit deal could be agreed within weeks. The Tradefair team brings you the latest in UK Politics...
�I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days.�
- Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested that Brussels could be on the verge of agreeing a Brexit deal with the UK. There had been well-founded concerns that with the deadline for the UK's departure rapidly approaching, that there wouldn't be enough time to make the necessary changes and both parties would be forced into a "no deal" situation.
However, over the weekend, Juncker has said the chances of the EU agreeing on terms have increased.
Speaking to a number of Austrian newspapers, he said: "We are not that far yet. But our will is unbroken to reach [an] agreement with the British government.
"I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days."
Optimistic but still work to do
This enthusiasm was supported by European Council President Donald Tusk who said it was possible that a deal could be reached before the end of the year. But not everyone is convinced that the end is in sight.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar stressed that there is still "a fair bit of work to be done".
These comments follow a number of reports suggesting that Brussels will adopt a Canada-style trade deal with the UK after it leaves the bloc. It's unclear how much of the Prime Minister's Chequer's plan would be included in the final agreement. There also remains little insight on what would happen to the Irish border if Northern Ireland follows the rest of the UK and is removed from the EU.
Theresa May has categorically ruled out the possibility of any part of the UK remaining in the single market after March 2019.
Will the summit signal a deal?
A summit is scheduled for later this month, where it was hoped that an official mutual deal would be announced. There is also a Cabinet meeting planned in the next few days, with Ministers expected to debate May's deal offer to make it more acceptable to Brussels.
It's also thought that whatever deal is agreed, there would be the possibility to further renegotiate the relationship between the UK and EU so May's successors could make changes.
Neither side wants a cliff-edge
Ireland's Europe Minister Helen McEntee said: "I think in the next ten days if there is a proposal, on its own it won't resolve the border issue, but if something is legally sound and workable, I do believe that the (EU's Brexit) taskforce will work with Prime Minister May.
"The Prime Minister wants to reach an agreement because this is the best outcome for all of us. A cliff-edge or a no-deal scenario is something we shouldn't even contemplate. Where the will is there it can be done, and I believe the will is there."
A solidified plan would undoubtedly ease tension in the financial markets, as many businesses currently remain in limbo over what the Brexit impact will be. Though they've proven to be extremely resilient against the global turmoil of recent months, the true effect of the UK leaving the EU will only be fully seen once the withdrawal is complete.
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