gpolit.com
gpolit.com December 17, 2017


Irish border deal reported settled as May meets Juncker

05 December 2017, 01:56 | Rufus Hill

British Prime Minister Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May

At around midday, the pound hit a day's high of 1.3523 against the dollar after news emerged that Westminster will concede on European Union trade rules for Northern Ireland.

The Irish Times are reporting that the "agreement is based on maintaining "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit".

May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker fell short of a breakthrough, despite some encouraging progress on the Irish border issue.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met for a crucial working lunch Monday to discuss the U.K.'s offer in the Brexit negotiations.

The Prime Minister was within touching distance on Monday of a reaching an agreement with the EU's Brexit taskforce on the so-called "divorce issues" after a frantic day of negotiations in Brussels. "It was reported as if it was true, and now it turns out it was propaganda from the Irish Government", he said.

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. After a day that see-sawed between hope and disappointment, the leaders failed to make what the European Union considers "sufficient progress" on three issues: Britain's exit bill, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the now invisible Irish border.

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. "We have common understanding on most issues".

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

And he added: "Despite our best efforts and significant progress we and our teams have made over the past days on three remaining withdrawal issues it was not possible to reach a complete agreement today".

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.

"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.

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.



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