Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator for the EU has said that the Brexit deal could be finalised by next Wednesday.

"In fact, as you can see in this copy of the draft Treaty, a lot of the Withdrawal Agreement – 80%-85% – has now been agreed with the UK," Barnier told the closing session of Eurochambre's European Parliament of Enterprises on Wednesday 10 October.

Barnier also suggested that checks would have to be imposed at the Irish border. These would involve scanning bar codes on lorries and ferries travelling between the two regions.

He said: "These arrangements already exist within EU Member States, in particular those with islands, for example between mainland Spain and the Canary Islands."

Barnier acknowledged that the issue of live animals transported around the island of Ireland was an issue and proposed that agreements should be put in place:

He suggested, "a veterinary agreement would mean less frequent inspections of live animals."

UK negotiator

Barnier’s comments come in the wake of the UK’s Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab’s comments on Tuesday, that negotiations had “intensified”.

Addressing the House of Commons he said: “Since I last updated the House, our negotiations with the EU have continued and intensified.”

However, Raab did outline the UK’s preference not to have a border between the north and south of Ireland.

“Creating any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which is what the EU had proposed, would put that at risk and that it is unacceptable.

“As my friend the Prime Minister has said, it is not something she, nor any British Prime Minister, could conceivably agree to.”

Up to 70% of Irish beef is exported to the UK and the Irish agriculture sector is expected to be the hardest hit in event of a closed border.

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