Hopes rise as EU agrees to boost Brexit talks_1


The European Union has agreed to intensify talks with the United Kingdom over the next few days to find a new Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The decision followed a briefing of the EU's 27 ambassadors by the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, where he described discussions with his British counterpart as "constructive".

This after Britain unveiled its own Brexit plan for keeping the Irish border open, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning the only alternative was leaving the European Union on October 31 without any deal.

After earlier saying that this was his “final” offer made 29 days before the Brexit deadline, Johnson wrote in a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker that London's long-awaited proposal was “a reasonable compromise”.

Central to the plan is the removal of the so-called “backstop” to prevent the return of customs posts between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland once the UK ends its 46-year involvement in the European project.

That plan would effectively keep Britain in a temporary customs union with the EU, which Brexit-backing critics argued would force London to abide by the bloc's rules indefinitely and nullify the 2016 EU referendum's results.

Johnson told Juncker that the EU plan was “a bridge to nowhere”.

“A new way forward must be found,” he wrote.

– Al Jazeera (additional reporting by AFP)

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