Nigel Farage claimed the latest face-to-face meeting with top Eurocrats in Strasbourg on Wednesday marked the "biggest shift" in the European Union's position on British withdrawal from the bloc. Mr Farage suggested the lack of confrontational tones during a Brexit debate in the European Parliament signals the UK is "inches" away from securing a deal. Speaking to the Brexit Party's podcast BrexBox, Mr Farage said: "What you saw was very different language coming from both Juncker and Barnier.
"Number one, no personal attacks on at all - they came from other politicians but not from the big bosses. That I thought was interesting.
"Secondly, no criticism of Brexit as a process, they weren’t even calling for second referendums. Again, that came from politicians but not from them.
"Thirdly, and most significantly, was when Barnier said that for him the backstop was not an article of faith."
The emerged as the top point of contention between the UK and the EU, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding the bloc agree to remove the clause from the withdrawal agreement. Brussels has repeatedly rejected calls to budge on the backstop.Brexit news: Nigel Farage said the change of tone in the EU marked the "biggest shift" in the talks (Image: BREXBOX•EPTV)Brexit news: Nigel Farage said the UK is "inches" away from striking a deal (Image: BREXBOX)
Mr Farage continued: "They are quite prepared to change the backstop as long as it achieves their goals. That is the biggest shift that we’ve seen from the EU side on this at any point.
"What it says to me is that we are inches away from an agreement being struck on the night of October 17-18 in Brussels at the next European Summit.
"Boris comes back from Brussels with an agreement on the backstop and he stands at an airport somewhere and waves a piece of paper and says, ‘we’ve got a great deal,’ and tries to push it through Parliament."
The Prime Minister met with European Commission outgoing President and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss latest British proposals for a deal.Brexit news: Michel Barnier acknowledged the "undemocratic" nature of the Irish backstop (Image: EPTV)
Addressing the European Parliament, Mr Barnier acknowledged the Prime Minister's concerns about the potential implications of the backstop.
Brexiteers have expressed concerns the clause could be exploited to keep the UK closely aligned to the single market and the customs union long after Brexit.
Mr Barnier said: "Almost three years after the UK referendum, I don’t think we should be spending time pretending to negotiate. I think we need to move forward with determination.
"We also understand the questions and remarks of the British Prime Minister on the democratic, or undemocratic, nature of the backstop."
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Mr Johnson and Mr Juncker agreed to hold daily meetings of their teams in Brussels in the hope of reaching a Brexit compromise in the coming weeks following their meeting in Luxembourg.
The Commission President repeatedly bemoaned that the British Government had failed to put forward written proposals for their new plan as he later warned the chances of no deal have become "palpable."
Mr Juncker told MEPs on Wednesday: "Michel Barnier and myself lunched with Prime Minister Johnson on Monday, you’ll be hardly surprised to learn that the Prime Minister assured us that he continues he wants an agreement but whatever happens he, the UK, will leave the EU on October 31 – with or without an agreement.
"That is why the risk of a no deal is palpable."