EUROPEAN Council President Donald Tusk has hinted a Brexit deal is just weeks away after EU bosses say it’s “not far”.
European Union Brexit negotiators believe a deal with Britain on leaving the bloc is “very close”.
The Sun reported that Mr Tusk told a Polish summit: “I have hope close to certainty that we will manage to reach an agreement both on exit and on best possible future relations.
“I hope that it will be possible to avoid major losses on both sides.
“We will try for it in October … and I think there is a chance to have an accord by the end of the year.”
Optimism from Brussels could be a sign a compromise on the most contentious issue — the future Irish border — might be in the making.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Austrian newspapers: “We are not there yet.
“But our will to reach an understanding with the British government is unbroken.”
On Friday, EU Brexit negotiators told ambassadors of the 27 states remaining in the bloc that there was no breakthrough on the Irish issue and much would depend on what their British counterparts bring to Brussels next week.
“We have to get away from this no-deal scenario. It would not be good for Britain or for the rest of the (European) Union,” Mr Juncker was quoted as saying.
Britain and the EU are trying to push for the divorce deal, as well as an agreement on post-Brexit relations, in time for two leaders’ summits scheduled for October 17-18 and November 17-18.
Mr Juncker said: “My assumption is that we will reach an accord which will achieve the conditions of the withdrawal treaty.”
He added it was not possible to predict whether there will be a conclusion to the Brexit negotiations in October.
Mr Juncker said: “If not, then we will do it in November.”
The EC boss told Austrian media a political declaration on future relations between Britain and its former European partners was needed to accompany the Brexit deal.
“You can’t absolutely keep separate the withdrawal treaty and the declaration of the future relationship between the United Kingdom and Europe,” he said.