Michel Barnier says EU is 'ready to improve text' of Irish border proposal

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator says he remains confident that negotiations 'can reach a good outcome'

Michel Barnier says EU is 'ready to improve text' of Irish border proposal

Michel Barnier. Picture by: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator has said the bloc is "ready to improve the text of our proposal" on the Irish border.

In an op-ed published today, Michel Barnier said Ireland faces the 'biggest risk' from the UK leaving the EU.

He reiterated the need for a backstop deal to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

He explained: "The UK agrees with this, and both the EU and the UK have said that a better solution in the future relationship could replace the backstop.

"What the EU has proposed is that Northern Ireland remains in a common regulatory area for goods and customs with the rest of the EU. We are ready to improve the text of our proposal with the UK."

Mr Barnier has also warned that since the UK has opted to leave the EU, it can "no longer be as close economically" to other member states.

He also insists that the British government "cannot ask the EU to lose control of its borders and laws".

However, he added: "I remain confident that the negotiations can reach a good outcome.

"It is possible to respect EU principles and create a new and ambitious partnership."

Talks continue between the EU and UK ahead of a key October deadline to reach a withdrawal deal.

Last month, it was announced that Prime Minister Theresa May is taking personal control of Brexit negotiations on the British side.