Friday, 16 November, 2018

Theresa May lets ministers take a peek at draft Brexit deal

PA Wire  PA Images               Details of a draft comms grid to drum up support for Theresa May's Brexit deal have been leaked PA Wire PA Images Details of a draft comms grid to drum up support for Theresa May's Brexit deal have been leaked
Jeannette Daniel | 08 November, 2018, 14:10

Speaking at a conference while on a visit to Helsinki, Finland, the Taoiseach said: "I do think that, with every day that passes, the possibility of having a special summit in November becomes less likely". I will not give you a date.

There is only a slim chance that an agreement between British and European Union negotiators can be reached in time to hold a summit of leaders in November to sign off the agreement, according to one British official. Negotiators from both sides are, however, still at odds over ways to guarantee an open Irish border no matter how Brexit goes. "There are still important issues outstanding".

In a wide-ranging speech that moved from European defence to electric vehicles, he mentioned Brexit only to promise to "fulfill my Brexit mission to the end" and make a brief opening joke that his speech would be short because "the clock is ticking".

The main obstacle to an agreement is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between the Republic of Ireland, a European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. All parties have committed to avoid a "hard border" with costly and time-consuming border checks that would hamper business. "(It is) clear that more work is needed in Brexit negotiations.

The concerns focus on Attorney General Geoffrey Cox's advice on how an exit from the backstop could be found to make sure the United Kingdom is not permanently kept within a customs union, which would severely curtail its ability to strike worldwide free trade deals - a key prize for Brexiteers.

More news: Have Liverpool lost their bite in midfield at the moment?

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in Helsinki, said that British Prime Minister Theresa May "is, as we are, made a decision to have the deal, and we will have a deal".

Varadkar spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday, agreeing that any backstop should be temporary. "It is as simple as that", Barnier said.

After May discussed Brexit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Donald Tusk earlier this week, British ministers were shown the text of a deal which is 95 percent agreed. "We hope that the backstop will never need to be used, it is an insurance policy".

Varadkar said he was willing to consider a review clause attached to the backstop, but this could not allow Britain to withdraw unilaterally and leave a hard border.

Barnier is this week at the meeting of his European People's Party in Helsinki and there is nothing on his public agenda about an imminent meeting with Britain's Brexit minister Dominic Raab.

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