Britain and European Union reach historic deal on Brexit divorce terms

08 December, 2017, 09:46 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Britain and European Union reach historic deal on Brexit divorce terms

The EU had set a deadline of Sunday after the last talks on Monday broke down when May's Northern Irish allies objected to terms for future arrangements for the Irish border.

The DUP said the proposals, which aimed to avoid border checks by aligning regulations on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were not acceptable.

At the 14-15 December summit, European leaders will decide whether enough progress has been made in the negotiations on Ireland, the UK's "divorce bill" and citizens' rights so far to open trade talks.

"The Commission is satisfied that sufficient progress has been achieved in each of the three priority areas", the European Commission said in a statement.

Ireland wants to reach an agreement on the future of the Irish border after Brexit that is based on the principles struck in a tentative deal on Monday, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.

Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's chief of staff Martin Selmayr tweeted a picture of white smoke - the sign used by the Vatican to signify the election of a new pope - shortly after May's arrival.

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Also on Wednesday, Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, said that she is ready to fly to London to examine finer points of Brexit agreement on the Irish border, but more work is needed.

The intense time pressure on the PM to get European Union agreement to move to trade talks will only grow with the Council summit looming large and the risk of trade talks being delayed until well into the New Year.

"In Northern Ireland we guarantee there will be no hard border", May told a press conference with Juncker.

But they hit out at what they say are attempts by some in their party to paint a no-deal scenario in which the United Kingdom failed to agree a trade agreement as "some status quo which the United Kingdom simply opts to adopt". The EU expects Theresa May to formally agree to a Brexit deal on Friday.

Mrs May would likely go back to discussions with the DUP but with 27 other European Union countries needing to sign off on "sufficient progress", the deadline may fall before the Council on Thursday.

The Government continues to insist it will not change the substance of what it says was agreed with the British government on Brexit earlier this week.

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