Brexit talks 'making progress', continuing through night, says EU

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Big companies are stepping up their plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to get talks back on track after a major setback.
An anti-Brexit protester waves EU and British flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Dec 5, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Talks on Brexit divorce terms are making "progress" after EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker spoke by telephone with the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland, and will go on through the night, a spokesman said on Thursday (Dec 7).

An early morning meeting in Brussels between Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose efforts to reach a deal broke down in failure earlier this week, was also a possibility, Juncker's spokesman said.

"We are making progress but not fully there yet. Talks are continuing through the night," Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Twitter, Juncker spoke first with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar then British premier May, the spokesman said.

"Early morning meeting possible with press point thereafter," Schinas said.

"Tonight more than ever, stay tuned."

European Council President Donald Tusk was also set to make a statement giving a "situational update" on Brexit at 6.50am GMT on Friday (2.30pm Singapore time), adding to the fevered speculation about a deal.

The EU earlier on Thursday set a deadline of Sunday for May to reach a deal on divorce terms so they can be approved by member states in time for an EU leaders' summit on Dec 14-15.

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