Wednesday, 12 December, 2018


European Union negotiators see Brexit deal 'very close'

PA Archive  PA Images               DUP leader Arlene Foster Chief Whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson then Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and Theresa May PA Archive PA Images DUP leader Arlene Foster Chief Whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson then Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and Theresa May
Bennie Garza | 08 October, 2018, 15:16

Asked if an exit from Brexit was still possible, Mr Juncker said: "That is in the discretion of the British Parliament and the Government".

Negotiators are yet to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

Mr Tusk also rejected any suggestion that the EU had not respected the dignity of the United Kingdom at the recent meeting of European leaders at Salzburg.

He added said this deal would be "Much further-reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation".

With less than two weeks to go before a crunch summit in Brussels billed by the European Union as the "moment of truth" for Brexit negotiations, Mr Juncker gave an upbeat assessment of the chances of a deal.

Foster has also insisted Theresa May needs to show her any new proposals on the Irish border before presenting them to the European Union, but she declined to state whether her party would vote against the Government if she considered any proposals unacceptable.

A second source said European Union negotiator Michel Barnier was looking at where the bloc could make improvements to what it has offered London as both sides race to overcome the remaining obstacles to a Brexit deal before a high-stakes European Union summit on October 17-18.

"The European Union is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace, life without fear".

"Even though we haven't changed our minds that the consequences of Brexit will be negative, for both sides".

Brexiteers have jumped on the EU's offer of a "Canada +++" free trade deal for the United Kingdom once it quits the bloc, piling more pressure on Theresa May to ditch her compromise Chequers deal.

Tusk pointed out that the attack in Salisbury in March, in which an attempt was made on the life of a former Russian spy, demonstrated that the Soviet spirit was still alive.

"To suggest the DUP holds the whip hand over the negotiations I don't think is accurate or fair, or reasonable", he added.

Mr Juncker told reporters in Austria that the current holder of the rolling presidency of the European council that recent days had provided some cause for optimism in the talks.

The deal appears to be dependent on Mrs May accepting different customs arrangements in Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which she has been clear she will not accept.

"He wants to tear up our guarantee to the people of Northern Ireland", she said.

Mrs May has rejected the EU's proposal for a "backstop" to ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit, arguing that it would effectively impose a border between the North and the rest of the UK.

The Irish leader was speaking to journalists in between a series of meetings with European Union leaders in Brussels, as exit talks enter a critical fortnight before the make-or-break October summit.

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