LONDON (AFP) -- British and EU negotiators agreed Friday to intensify efforts to find a new Brexit withdrawal agreement, just days before a key European summit.
European Union member states will review progress from the talks on Monday, following a weekend meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The stepped-up negotiations came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar held a meeting Thursday both sides dubbed "promising".
That led to a Brussels working breakfast Friday between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay to break the talks logjam.
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk, who hosts next week's summit, had said he would have pulled the plug on plans to discuss Brexit if there was no hope of progress.
But after Barnier's meetings the European Commission said: "The EU and the UK have agreed to intensify discussions over the coming days.
Barnier's team has long been in "technical talks" with British officials, but without making enough progress towards a treaty text that could forestall a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit on October 31.
But after the "constructive" breakfast with Barclay, Barnier was given the go-ahead from member state ambassadors to begin a more political negotiation on a path towards a possible draft text.
This, officials said, could clear the way for a Brexit deal in the coming weeks -- or at least provide enough evidence of possible progress to justify postponing Britain's departure.