October 19, 2018 / 7:02 AM / a month ago

EU's Barnier says Brexit deal 90 percent done, but Ireland issue could derail it

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier arrives at an European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

PARIS (Reuters) - European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday a Brexit deal with the United Kingdom was 90 percent done, although there was still a chance no accord would be reached due to ongoing stumbling blocks over the Irish border.

“Ninety percent of the accord on the table has been agreed with Britain,” Barnier told France Inter radio.

“I’m convinced a deal is necessary, I’m still not sure we’ll get one,” he said.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May and other EU leaders voiced renewed confidence that they could secure a Brexit deal, yet the two sides remain at odds over how to deal with their only land border, between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

May had also signalled she would consider extending a so-called transition period “for a matter of months” after Britain leaves the EU in March.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Sarah White, Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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