Ireland says Brexit deal is not yet close but mood music has improved

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FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends a conference in Paris
FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends a conference in Paris, France, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

September 20, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union are not yet close to a Brexit deal that could safely resolve the Irish border riddle and London needs to come up with serious proposals, but the mood music has improved, Ireland said on Friday.

Hopes of a resolution to the tortuous three-year Brexit crisis were raised in recent days and sterling shot up to a 2-month high on Thursday when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a deal was possible.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney repeated that a deal was possible but cautioned that the gap was still wide and underscored the risks of a disorderly Brexit – civil unrest on the island of Ireland and a dislocation of trade.

“I think the mood music has improved,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told BBC radio. “We all want a deal, we all know that a no-deal will be a lose, lose, lose for everybody, but particularly for Ireland and Britain.

“But I think we need to be honest with people and say that we’re not close to that deal right now. But there is an intent I think by all sides to try and find a landing zone that everybody can live with here.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he wants to strike an amended deal at an EU summit on Oct. 17-18 but that if that is not possible then he will lead the United Kingdom out without a deal.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by David Milliken and Angus MacSwan)

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