The European Union's top Brexit negotiator has said he is not optimistic about avoiding a no-deal scenario as he cannot meet Britain's demands to scrap the Irish backstop.
Michel Barnier declared that the so-called backstop had to stay to protect the integrity of the EU's single market while ensuring an open border in Ireland.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: "I am not optimistic about avoiding a no-deal scenario, but we should all continue to work with determination", according to extracts of his article on the newspaper's front page.
"The backstop is the maximum amount of flexibility that the EU can offer to a non-member state."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.
The prime minister is seeking to renegotiate his predecessor Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement so that Britain can leave the bloc with a deal.