EU, Britain talk up chances of autumn Brexit deal

FTSE 100 preview Index expected to open on a dip due to strong pound

"For that, I asked Dominic and his team to provide us with the data necessary for the technical work which we need to do now on the nature, location, and modality of the controls that will be necessary", Barnier said.

The EU proposes that Northern Ireland stay aligned with the remaining 27 bloc members after Brexit as part of a "backstop", or insurance policy to avoid the reimposition of border checks and a risk to Irish peace gains.

After talks with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday, Raab said he was "as confident as before, if not more" that there will be a deal with the European Union on Brexit.

Barnier has made clear there will be no deal without a backstop and said Thursday: "British politicians must take responsibility for their own decisions".

"We must have a detailed backstop solution which is legally binding in the Withdrawal Agreement", Mr Barnier said.

Michel Barnier is refusing to back down on erecting a border in the Irish Sea to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and has publicly asked the British government for data to prove that the checks on goods flowing within the territory of the United Kingdom would be few in number.

The backstop, which would foresee Northern Ireland remain in the single market for goods, and in the customs union, is due to be contained in a protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, which is due to be concluded in October, or early November at the latest. That threatens to erect an internal trade barrier in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

With seven months to go until Britain leaves, its government has been ramping up its no-deal preparations, and negotiators on both sides increasingly expect an informal October deadline for reaching an agreement to slip into November.

"It's a matter of some urgency".

"The backstop is critical", he insisted.

Barnier said unresolved issues included geographical indications, the role of the EU's top court in policing the agreement and data protection, among others.

"The solutions must be workable, they've got to be workable for the communities living in Northern Ireland and living in the Republic of Ireland".

"Our responsibility is to be prepared for any and all the options", Mr Barnier told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday.

Raab said he was "stubbornly optimistic" that there would be a deal on Brexit.

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