European Union extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks

Casey Dawson
December 5, 2017

All parties initially appeared to be confident that there was an agreement to be had on citizens rights, the financial settlement and the increasingly thorny issue of the Irish border, but the bullish talk came to nothing.

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.

But the DUP pulled the plug as it raised fears that the United Kingdom was making too many concessions when it came to the Irish border.

British Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels for a long negotiating lunch with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

"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.

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.

May made her entrance at European Union headquarters around the same time, smiling and courteous, as she shook hands with Juncker and both went inside the European Union headquarters for talsk. But the issues of the rights of expatriate citizens and the UK-EU border on the island of Ireland defied a deal until the last minute.

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But he said that Pyongyang's actions had made America's alliances with Japan and South Korea "stronger than ever". China and Russian Federation objected to that idea in the latest United Nations sanctions resolution.

Most EU leaders meeting this weekend at a gathering of left-wing prime ministers in Lisbon, Portugal were planning for "sufficient progress" to be achieved by the time of the European Council summit on 14 and 15 December.

"I hope we are in a place this evening where Irish people north and south will get reassurance from the wording that is very close to being finalised now".

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Brexit spokesman David Cullinane told Sky News it is "crucial" Northern Ireland remains in the customs union and single market as "the only way to avoid the hardening of the border". 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.

"We now have a common understanding on most related issues with just two or three open for discussion".

"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.

Varadkar said he would speak in public shortly.

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