Chance of a Brexit deal is higher than believed - think tank
Some interesting comments from Charles Grant
Charles Grant, the director of the Centre for European Reform writes about the chances of a deal after meeting with EU and UK officials.
A deal between EU and UK is more likely than I had thought - my conclusion after 2 days of meetings with EU, member-state and UK officials. Senior figures on EU side say they can scrap backstop as long as alternatives deliver on protecting a) single mkt; b) GFA. They also say Boris Johnson has indicated that he can live with rest of withdrawal agreement if backstop goes. In some key national capitals BJ has made a quite good impression. But some of David Frost's meetings in BXL have lowered expectations on EU side, conveying hard red lines. The essence of the deal would be to replicate effects of N I-only backstop. On agri, as BJ has said, NI would follow EU rules. In other areas: a combo of regulatory alignment with EU, and discreet controls - 'dedramatised, dematerialised, delocalised' - away from border France, Germany, Commission could go along with this, but only if UK produces serious proposals, which it has not yet done. It would have to accept role for ECJ. But what about Ireland, which says it prefers prospect of no deal to a deal sans backstop? The other member-states do not want to put pressure on Ireland. But if the UK gets serious about a deal and shows flexibility, there would be gentle encouragement for Dublin to accept something almost equivalent to backstop Of course the difficulties are immense and the gaps may prove unbridgeable. Some in DUP & ERG would not like to see N I partially aligned with EU rules. But an element of consultation for Stormont on rule changes could help. Also, add EU officials, in one respect BJ is right: the new UK law v no deal has taken pressure off Irish govt and UK Parliament to compromise. But some EU govts think BJ may be serious about a deal, perhaps before Oct 31.
The comments are getting some traction and may be helping to lift cable back above 1.2315. The problem is that the UK still hasn't proposed anything to solve these problems, but at least there is some movement.