Barnier given ‘necessary flexibility’ for Brexit talks, Irish premier says

The EU’s chief negotiator has been given the “necessary flexibility” to continue Brexit deal talks, Ireland’s premier has said.

Micheal Martin said EU leaders had held “constructive” Brexit discussions in Brussels on Thursday and that Michel Barnier had emphasised the need for mutual respect from both sides.

Mr Martin made the remarks in Brussels on Friday morning.

His comments come as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that, unless there was “fundamental change” in the EU’s approach, the UK would go for the “Australia solution”, Downing Street language for no-deal, in the post-Brexit trade talks.

The EU signalled on Thursday that it was willing to continue trade negotiations but called on Britain to make the next move.

“We received a very good assessment on the state of the negotiations from our chief negotiator Michel Barnier,” Mr Martin said.

“He emphasised the need for mutual respect on these negotiations and I think he was given the necessary flexibility to continue with the negotiations on behalf of the EU Council to ensure a comprehensive, fair free trade deal between the UK and the European Union.

“That’s how we’d like to see things evolve now and in the future weeks to bring this to a conclusion.”

The country’s foreign affairs minister said on Thursday that a Brexit deal between the UK and the EU was “in sight” and could be reached by the start of November.

Simon Coveney said he believed an agreement would be made, despite the two sides being “miles apart” on fisheries.

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