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  1. ITV Report

What we learned from Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier's Brexit meeting

Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier gave a press conference in Brussels. Photo: AP

The UK's chief Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab met with the EU's Michel Barnier in Brussels for further discussions as the deadline for a final deal draws near.

After almost two years of stalemate, it appears as though progress is finally being made, with the pair spending hours together before giving a revealing press conference.

Here ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener explains what we learned from their meeting:

  • Dominic Raab is a far more energetic Brexit Secretary than his predecessor
Mr Raab appears more energetic in negotiations than David Davis. Credit: PA

In contrast to David Davis, Mr Raab is more excited by the possibilities of Brexit.

Mr Raab said that he wanted to continue "accelerating and intensifying" negotiations, adding: "We're committed to resolving the deal by (the October council) and ultimately on my side I am stubbornly optimistic that a deal is within our reach."

  • Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, seems to appreciate that Raab's optimism
Mr Barnier and Mr Raab appear to have a good relationship. Credit: AP

Former Brexit Secretary Davis and his EU counterpart had a frosty relationship with the pair rarely meeting for negotiations.

Mr Barnier had previously expressed his disappointment at the UK for cancelling a meeting due to a “diary clash” but he appears to have a better relationship with Mr Raab.

They're already on first name terms and spent six hours together including over lunch.

  • The Irish border issue is far from resolved

Mr Barnier said a backstop is "essential to conclude the negotiations", stating: "With no backstop there will be no agreement."

He described the issue as a "matter of some urgency", adding that he had asked the Brexit Secretary to provide data on how the "necessary controls and checks take place".

The pressing issue is still that of the Irish border. Credit: Google Maps
  • Dominic Raab said there had to be a solution that was 'workable'

Mr Raab said the Government "remained committed" to finding a solution in Northern Ireland.

He said: "On Northern Ireland we remain committed to giving effect to the joint report, continuing the work on the potential solutions, working with Michel and his team on some of the issues he's raised and continuing to drive that forward.

"The solutions must be workable, they've got to be workable for the communities living in Northern Ireland and living in the Republic of Ireland."

  • A Withdrawal Agreement may not be finalised until November
The deadline had been set for March but that date may be pushed back to November. Credit: AP

A Brexit deal must be signed by "November at the latest", Mr Barnier warned.

He went on to say that they have "flexibility" for further negotiations, but added: "If you take account of the date chosen by the United Kingdom to leave, that's March 29 which is in UK law and you simply count backwards the time that you need for ratification about three months here or there then it takes you to November at the latest.

"It's as simple as that."