She said that Northern Ireland "makes a major contribution to our Union, and it also derives great benefits from being an integral part of the UK" and that "every family and every business benefits from the strength and security that comes from being part of the world's fifth largest economy".
"But we need an operational backstop now, in the Withdrawal Agreement, and not later".
The EU sees securing the new external border of the EU after Brexit as a key issue in the withdrawal agreement that needs to be negotiated by October to have enough time for ratification by the British and European parliaments before Brexit takes effect next March.
But while the negotiations have rarely looked so in danger of failing, senior EU officials and diplomats do not see any goal in an extension to article 50, the two-year negotiating period set aside for a member withdrawing from the union, unless there is a change in British politics that can offer genuine hope of a better outcome.
Among those calling for Theresa May to be ready to ask for a prolongation of the UK's membership beyond 29 March 2019 should a no-deal scenario appear likely are the Commons' exiting the European Union select committee, chaired by Hilary Benn, and the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), during a visit to Belleek pottery factory on the northern side of the Irish border, in Belleek, Northern Ireland, Thursday July 19, 2018.
"There will be a deal if there is an agreement on the backstop", said Mr Barnier.
However, the 20% left is challenging to say the least - covering flashpoints like data protection, United Kingdom military bases in Cyprus and who should police the withdrawal agreement and subsequent nearly two-year transition period.
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She said Mrs May rejected the accusations from Ms McDonald.
Turning to Brexit, Mrs May reiterated her commitment to ensuring there was no hard border.
She says this would keep "frictionless" trade and make a border between the Republic of Ireland - an European Union member - and Northern Ireland unnecessary.
"The notion of a hard border is nearly inconceivable, a seamless border must continue".
Mr Barnier said that the Withdrawal Agreement could not be concluded without a legally binding backstop setting out the fallback arrangements if a wider solution for the Irish border could not be found. "We just haven't finalised the wording of it yet", Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE radio.
The UK government insists that any backstop position should include the UK as a whole.
Raab met the EU's top negotiator Michel Barnier for the first time on Friday, where he heard doubts over May's new Brexit blueprint for the future relationship.
Mr Barnier told reporters yesterday that it was "a matter of urgency to agree a legally operative backstop", saying: "We need an all-weather insurance policy".