1.EU and UK meet in Brussels on Brexit for 6 hours: EU and UK negotiators today talked up prospects of agreeing a Brexit deal this autumn, citing recent progress in detailing very close security cooperation to take effect after Britain leaves the bloc. The EU’s Michel Barnier said it was “possible” to get an agreement in time for a summit of all the bloc’s leaders in Brussels on Oct 18-19, though a delay into November was also possible. After his latest talks with Barnier, Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab said he was “stubbornly optimistic” and “as confident as before, if not more” that there would be a deal. The two said they made progress over security cooperation, including on exchanging data. “Europe’s security is the United Kingdom’s security,” Raab told a joint news conference. (Reuters) Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab however said at the same joint press briefing in Brussels that while some progress was made, there remained various unresolved issues including:

(a) EU food labelling protections: Barnier has warned that the bloc will not agree to a deal that does not protect European specialities such as parmesan cheese and Parma ham, saying that he has “concerns” about Britain’s unwillingness to offer guarantees. The EU’s system of “geographical indicators” that protect its emblematic food products has emerged as a sticking point in the final stretch of Brexit negotiations, with Brussels frustrated by British insistence that the protections will need to be reassessed by the UK government on a case-by-case basis. Barnier said, “I expressed again my concern. (…) Brexit “cannot lead to a loss of existing protection of intellectual property. It has to be clarified in the withdrawal agreement.”. The geographical indicators are one of the most sensitive issues in EU trade policy, covering around 3,000 different products. EU officials said that Britain has told them that, while the European geographical indicators have been protected in the UK up to now, they will need to be reviewed and re-approved again by the government after Brexit. One official said that it was “dangerous” for the UK to stall on the issue given the political importance of the protections for EU nations such as France and Italy.(Financial Times)

(b) Post-Brexit border in Irish Sea: Barnier has refused to back down on erecting a border in the Irish Sea to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and has publicly asked the British government for data to prove that the checks on goods flowing within the territory of the UK would be few in number. Barnier, who has been strident on the issue during the behind-the-scenes negotiations, made public his request for the information as he warned he needed an agreement on Northern Ireland and other outstanding withdrawal issues “by November at the latest”. Brussels wants to show that the flow of goods from the rest of the UK into Northern Ireland is minimal, and that most of it comes via the Republic of Ireland. UK negotiators have insisted it is not the number of checks that matters, but the principle of not having border checks within the sovereign territory of the UK. Dominic Raab said that the wishes of all communities in Northern Ireland needed to be respected, in an indication that the British government will not accept checks unacceptable to the Democratic Unionist party. However, Barnier said a solution was “essential to conclude the negotiations”. He said: “With no backstop there will be no agreement.”. (The Guardian)

2.French Minister dismisses suggestion that EU has adopted more favourable position towards UK: Theresa May’s Brexit plan is “not possible”, France’s Europe minister has said, dismissing suggestions that the EU’s negotiating position has shifted. Nathalie Loiseau said she was “surprised” to read reports in the British media saying French president Emmanuel Macron was preparing to soften his stance and urge European leaders to agree a Brexit deal. Ms Loiseau said the UK’s Chequers plan had failed to strike a “balance between rights and obligations” to the EU. Her comments follow suggestions that the EU is increasingly willing to compromise in order to strike a deal. Ms Loiseau said May’s Brexit plan was “not possible” because it would give the UK the benefits of a Norway-style model of access to Europe while only committing it to responsibilities akin to those resulting from Canada’s trade deal with the EU. (Independent)