World News

Irish foreign minister says Brexit border breakthrough possible today

Irish foreign minister says Brexit border breakthrough possible today

Mrs May had traveled to Brussels with high hopes that a deal could be struck with the European Union and that talks could move on to the crucial trade arrangements as early as the New Year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar by phone.

Dublin has claimed the United Kingdom government has not yet tabled a serious or credible plan to avoiding a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit, if the United Kingdom quits the EU's single market and customs union.

Irish state broadcaster RTE said that a draft text would commit Britain to "continued regulatory alignment" with the European Union to avoid divergence on the two sides of the Irish border. "But at this stage it is very hard to make a prediction", said an official.

Prior to May's Brussels trip, expectations were high for breakthroughs on three major Brexit issues, namely the divorce bill, Irish border and citizen's rights. "Getting closer to sufficient progress at December #EUCO".

"It's probably about 50/50 whether there will be agreement in the near future".

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"Despite our best efforts and the significant process we and our teams have made over the past days on the remaining withdrawal issues, it was not possible to reach an agreement", EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "It was reported as if it was true, and now it turns out it was propaganda from the Irish Government", he said. But the border issue has proved more intractable.

Ireland's deputy premier and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said the Dublin government's concerns over the post-Brexit border were set to be addressed fully.

"Obviously, we would like that to be the case". But Ireland and the other EU nations are demanding to know how that will work if Britain is outside the EU's borderless single market and its tariff-free customs union, a looser trading bloc that includes non-EU states like Turkey.

The Irish prime minister said he is "surprised and disappointed" that there was no agreement in Brexit talks today.

But that task has been complicated by the DUP's show of strength, the publication of the sensitive wording from the draft negotiating text and Leo Varadkar's public insistence that the British government had signed up to a formula which the DUP found so hard to swallow.

He added: "This is very, very complicated and experts have been working on this issue now for months and they still haven't come up with a solution".


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