Brussels gives green light to intensify Brexit talks with UK (FT)

  • Brussels has decided to embark on intensive negotiations with the UK on Brexit, in a sign that the EU believes a new exit deal may be possible in the coming weeks.
  • Mr Barnier told EU27 diplomats that the UK has accepted that there cannot be a “border across the island of Island” but did not share details of Mr Johnson’s new proposals on how to deal with the biggest stumbling block: customs. Mr Johnson also accepted that British demands to scrap level playing field obligations that would keep the UK close to EU standards in areas like the environment and workers’ rights would reduce the scope of a future trade agreement.
  • Diplomats said the two negotiating teams would know by the end of the weekend whether an agreement was possible.

UK stocks and sterling rise sharply on new hopes for a Brexit deal (FT)

  • The pound rose as much as 2 per cent against the US dollar to briefly break above $1.27, trading at its highest level under Mr Johnson’s premiership. It has advanced more than 3.5 per cent over the past two trading days, its biggest two-day rise since the financial crisis.
  • On the stock market, banks and housebuilders surged, with the Royal Bank of Scotland up more than 12 per cent and on track for its biggest daily rise since 2010. JPMorgan economist Malcolm Barr: “For the first time, a UK exit from the EU on the basis of a withdrawal agreement within a matter of weeks now looks the single most likely path ahead.”
  • The market moves suggested some traders were unwinding short positions hedging against no-deal across the currency and stock markets.

DUP says it will ‘stand up for NI’ in Brexit talks (BBC)

  • The Democratic Unionist Party has warned that it will use its “considerable influence” to “stand up for Northern Ireland” as Brexit talks enter a new phase. It is the first time the DUP has spoken since Mr Johnson met with the Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar on Thursday.
  • In a statement on Friday, Mrs Foster said the party would only back a deal that is in Northern Ireland’s “long-term economic and constitutional interests”. She added: “We have been consistent in our opposition to the backstop, whether UK or NI only.

Aerospace industry seeks Brexit reassurance (BBC)

  • There is growing concern among key aerospace manufacturers about regulatory alignment and the ability to bring products to market after Brexit. The firms have sought reassurance that the UK would continue to be a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency after any Brexit deal.
  • The government is facing a backlash from key manufacturers amid growing industrial concern that Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiators have dropped existing commitments to participate in specific EU regulatory institutions after any Brexit deal.
  • The concerns are shared in other industries, which have asked for similar reassurances, only to be told in recent weeks that the government is seeking a “best in class” free trade agreement, where the UK would set its own regulatory standards.