nsucurrent.com
nsucurrent.com December 11, 2017


Irish foreign minister says Brexit border breakthrough possible today

05 December 2017, 02:01 | Colleen Roy

British Prime Minister Theresa May inside 10 Downing Street in London Tuesday Dec. 5 2017. Matt Dunham Associated Press

British Prime Minister Theresa May inside 10 Downing Street in London Tuesday Dec. 5 2017. Matt Dunham  Associated Press

Member countries must decide whether to broaden the talks to the topic of future relations.

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

The issue of citizens' rights has also remained a hurdle.

But critics say that it would effectively move the customs border between the United Kingdom and the Republic into the Irish Sea, if the rest of the United Kingdom was not in the single market.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Brussels with Mr Juncker, Mrs May said: "We have been negotiating hard. But on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

Elmar Brok, another member of the European Parliament who met Juncker and his Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, shortly before they met May, said "just a few words" had separated the sides and that there was a "very good chance" of agreement.

The EU and the United Kingdom are nearing agreement on some divorce terms, including the size of the bill that Britain must pay as it leaves and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit.

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

While for months a divorce settlement on financial issues between the United Kingdom and the European Union represented the biggest hurdle to progress in talks, the United Kingdom last week mostly agreed to pay what the European Union has been asking for.

After Britain leaves the bloc, the now invisible 310-mile (500-kilometer) frontier will be the U.K.'s only land border with an European Union country. 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.

A deal on that thorny issue had been widely touted Monday morning but failed to materialise amid angry reactions from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the staunchly pro-British group that helps May's minority government pass legislation in Westminster.

If she had ignored their concerns, there's little doubt that the party's 10 MPs would have sat on their hands and not supported the Conservatives in important votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill this week.

"We can not align the regulation of one part of the United Kingdom with the European Union", he said. "The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must not be compromised in any way".

"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".

He added: "I still hope that this matter can be concluded in the coming days as agreed". "Getting closer to sufficient progress at December (EU summit)".






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