What Happened: The European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed to enter so-called "tunnel talks" on Brexit over the weekend as part of an intense and secretive negotiation format that doesn't involve press communication, the Financial Times reported Oct. 11.
Why It Matters: The authorization of tunnel talks indicates that Brussels believes that the sides have reached sufficient progress to justify an intensification of the negotiations. Although the new format suggests higher chances of reaching a Brexit deal, both parties will still be required to make proposals and offer concessions, all of which could jeopardize an agreement.
Background: The British government suggested last week to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU rules and standards on goods, food and agriculture, while also proposing to leave the EU customs union, which would necessitate some degree of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The European Union has rejected the proposal, arguing it fails to keep the Irish border open, which has been a priority for both Dublin and Brussels.