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Confidence growing of a Brexit deal

BRUSSELS The European Commission added to mounting confidence in Brussels that it is set for a Brexit deal with London when it scheduled talks with EU lawmakers ahead of a crunch meeting today with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

However, EU officials and diplomats cautioned yesterday that it was still unclear that a deal would be struck with Mrs May.

Two hours before they sit down for lunch with Mrs May in Brussels, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will brief Guy Verhofstadt and his European Parliament Brexit team.

Mr Verhofstadt and his colleagues wrote to the EU negotiators last week to sound an alarm at what they said were"stalled" talks on EU demands that the rights of EU citizens in Britain be guaranteed directly by the European Court of Justice after Britain leaves the European Union.

They also voiced concern about Northern Ireland.

Parliament must ratify any treaty on Britain's withdrawal from the EU before Brexit in March 2019 in order to create the smooth transition period Mrs May wants, and so it will be vital to both sides to keep the legislators on board.- REUTERS

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