Sunday, 17 December, 2017

European Union extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks

Ruth Davidson says a Brexit deal must be done on a UK-wide basis Ruth Davidson says a Brexit deal must be done on a UK-wide basis
Dexter Carr | 05 December, 2017, 01:52

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

"We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the U.K.", DUP leader Arlene Foster said.

"This is not a failure", said Juncker.

Diplomats have been negotiating relentlessly over the past days to meet an EU imposed deadline of yesterday and the European Parliament's chief Brexit official said it was "50/50 to have something".

"I am surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier today", Varadkar said at a press conference in Dublin.

This development comes ahead of May's crucial meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday where she will present the UK's final offer on the three main issues in the first round of Brexit talks - the Irish border, citizens' rights and the financial settlement, the Guardian reported. The lack of progress so far has raised concerns that Britain may not have a deal by the time it officially leaves on March 29, 2019.

May said that "on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

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The EU has demanded "sufficient progress" on key withdrawal issues - the UK's exit payment, citizens' rights and Irish border - before the second phase can start.

Weber said in a tweet that even if the issue of the outstanding bill had made major progress, "we are much more concerned about the fact that negotiations are stalled on the protection of European Union citizens' rights & on the Irish 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.

He added: "The indications we have is that we are in a much better place now than we have been in the negotiations to date".

The Prime Minister is reliant on any support from the party as the DUP is propping up her government with its 10 MPs.

May depends in parliament on a pro-British party in Northern Ireland that rejects any deal which would divide the province from the British mainland.

"And the problem between the Republic and Northern Ireland is a outcome of the British decision not only to leave the EU but also the single market and the customs union".

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