Reuters reported within the last half hour that sources in Brussels are claiming Michel Barnier, in a closed-door meeting with national envoys this morning, “expressed confidence” that a deal between the UK and the EU can be agreed.
Barnier’s comments are said to be in sharp contrast to the most recent downbeat assessments that he has made publicly. In London last week he had claimed that without level playing field guarantees or fair competition rules, a deal was “unlikely”.
Envoys for Ireland and the Netherlands backed up the sources’ comments saying they remained confident that a new deal with Britain would eventually materialise.
The Dutch envoy is reported to have said that a deal would eventually “come swimming across [the English] Channel”.
Reuters piece is also being reported by the Irish broadcaster RTE.
A spokesperson for European Commission, where Barnier is the chief negotiator said in response it had nothing to add to the negotiator’s public comments last week.
The Irish mission to the EU’s Brussels hub also had no immediate comment and the Dutch representation said it would not comment on closed-door conversations.