The head of the European Commission has said the chances of a Brexit deal have increased in recent days.
Interviewed by three Austrian newspapers, Jean-Claude Juncker suggested a deal could even be done in time for the next EU summit at the end of the month.
His comments came after Irish government sources suggested a deal was “very close”.
Asked if he thought a deal would be finalised at the summit, Juncker said: “I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days.”
In a wide-ranging interview, he suggested the European Commission could have helped bring about a different result in the referendum if David Cameron’s government had not asked him to stay out of the debate.
Asked how he felt about being the first Commission president in the history of the EU to see a member leave the bloc, he said: “If the Commission had intervened, perhaps the right questions would have entered the debate.”
He added: “At that time it was already clear to us to what trials and tribulations this unfortunate vote of the British would lead to. I’m always amazed that I’m always blamed.”
Asked if an exit from Brexit was still possible, Juncker said: “That is in the discretion of the British Parliament and the Government. I do not interfere in inner cabinet debates in the UK. There is enough confusion.”
Juncker also took a swipe at the British press, claiming “they do not respect the human rights of political actors at all” and adding: “I will not miss it.”