Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Britain and EU reach historic deal on Brexit divorce terms

AP  Virginia Mayo AP Virginia Mayo
Sammy Stanley | 08 December, 2017, 10:38

If so, the European Union would then open long-anticipated talks on a future trade deal and a transition period with Britain.

The pro-British DUP party which props up May's government refused Monday's draft deal over a phrase suggesting there would be "regulatory alignment" with the European Union after Brexit - effectively putting Northern Ireland under European Union law.

The announcement that Brexit talks are set to move on to issues of trade and transition was welcomed by United Kingdom business leaders.

"We are making progress but we are not yet fully there", a spokesperson for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told The Financial Times.

Conversations continued with the DUP, which scuppered a deal on the Irish border on Monday after balking at "regulatory alignment" planned between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The party's opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down.

"Discussions about taking forward the Brexit process are ongoing", a British government spokesman said, adding that May had also telephoned with Varadkar. 'Totally and utterly incompetent' On Thursday, EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas had dismissed British newspaper reports that the Sunday deadline could be extended into next week as "not correct".

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The OSCE has deployed 600 unarmed monitors in Ukraine to investigate and deter ceasefire violations, but they often come under fire from the warring factions.

He said: "I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed".

"As the PM set out. we think we are close to an agreement but there is more work to be done".

As speculation swirled about whether London, Dublin and Brussels were about to clinch a border deal, European Council President Donald Tusk's office said he would brief reporters at 0650 GMT on Friday before departing for Hungary.

"This Government will continue to govern in the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland and uphold the Agreements that have underpinned the huge progress that has been made over the past two decades", a statement published on the government's website said.

Despite scepticism in Brussels over the tight timetable, May and her chief negotiator David Davis have been clear they want to have a full post-Brexit free trade deal sealed by the time Britain leaves.

The DUP insists it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Mrs May's Conservative administration is fiercely divided over Brexit - her Cabinet has yet to decide what kind of trading arrangements it wants from Europe.

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