United Kingdom and European Union fail to reach Brexit deal after crunch Brussels meeting

05 December, 2017, 02:00 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Jack Taylor  Getty

Ireland, with the backing of the other 26 member states, wants the United Kingdom to provide guarantees on how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland - part of the United Kingdom - and the Republic of Ireland.

Donald Tusk, the EU summit chair, tweeted ebulliently after speaking to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that there was progress on the Irish issue to unblock UK-EU trade talks: "Tell me why I like Mondays!" the former Polish premier wrote.

A meeting on this with all political party leaders is set for lunchtime today.

The Irish government has sought commitments from Theresa May on avoiding regulatory or customs divergence either side of the border after Brexit; the maintenance of the Good Friday Agreement; the retention of the Common Travel Area; and the need for continued border discussions within the second phase of Brexit negotiations.

Despite intense discussions over the weekend over the border issue, Irish officials said on Sunday night that "there is still a way to go".

Britain and the European Union failed to strike a Brexit divorce deal during talks in Brussels on Monday but said they were "confident" of reaching an accord later this week. She said negotiators from both sides would re-enage by the end of the week.

Ahead of a crunch meeting between the Prime Minister and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday, officials have been trying to thrash out a form of words to ease the Irish government's concerns.

Irish PM 'surprised and disappointed' by no deal on Irish border

The border issue remained the main sticking point.

European Union leaders want a deal on the breakup terms in time for them to agree at the December 14-15 summit whether to move the negotiations on to the next stage of talks, including trade.

Mr Juncker insisted that a deal could still be reached this week, having described Mrs May as a "tough negotiator". "But on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

London has broadly agreed to numerous EU's divorce terms, including paying out something like 50 billion euros. But then Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May's minority government, announced it wouldn't support any deal that made special rules for Northern Ireland.

"Not every single question has to be answered but we need sufficient progress on these very sensitive issues".

Varadkar said he would speak in public shortly.

He added: "I still hope that this matter can be concluded in the coming days as agreed".

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