The United Kingdom and the European Union are close to agreeing an orderly Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May has written in a German newspaper, urging the European Commission to evolve its position for the sake of a deal.
Writing in Die Welt daily, May said both sides needed to show goodwill to avoid a disorderly UK exit from the bloc next March, which some fear would unleash major economic disruption.
“We are near to achieving the orderly withdrawal that is the essential basis for building a close future partnership,” May wrote.
“To come to a successful conclusion, just as the UK has evolved its position, the EU will need to do the same. Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other, such as an external customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom.”
Growing hopes among investors that London and Brussels can secure an agreement has buoyed the British pound, though it pulled back from a six-week high on Tuesday.
EU leaders are due to meet in Salzburg in Austria on Wednesday and Thursday for talks that UK Brexit minister Dominic Raab has said would be an “important milestone”.
Raab said the government is sticking to its proposal for a post-Brexit border between its province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, one of the major obstacles to an agreement.
On Tuesday, the EU’s Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was ready to improve its proposal for an “insurance policy” backstop arrangement on how to manage the Irish border after Brexit.