AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND
British Prime Minister Theresa May meets European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels as a Brexit breakthrough mount
Britain and the European Union on a bridging deal on a new relationship. Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to Brussels for early morning talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to reach the breakthrough.
The European Commission said that it had “made sufficient progress” had been made by Britain on separation issues including the Irish border, Britain’s divorce bill, and citizens’ rights. But EU President Donald Tusk – who will be recommending leaders at a summit in the field of open trade and transition – warned that the toughest task was to come. “Tusk said,” Let us know that we’re going to have a hard time. ” Negotiators worked through the night to seal an agreement after the EU set a Sunday deadline. May said the key part of the agreement is to ensure that the UK-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member states Ireland after Britain leaves on March 29, 2019. “In Northern Ireland we will be able to guarantee a hard line,” she told a press conference with Juncker. – Northern Ireland ‘alignment’ – Northern Irish Unionists Who Prop up May ‘s Minority Conservative Government scuppered a possible deal on Monday with their fierce opposition to wording they would divide the North from the rest of the UK. Arlene Foster, leader of the pro-British DUP party, told Sky News she was “pleased” to see changes to the deal following their demands. The deal commits both sides to respect the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which ended decades of violence between nationalists who want a united Ireland and Northern Ireland unionists loyal to Britain. Under the agreement, London will find a way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland “through the EU-UK relationship” but if this can not be achieved, Britain will keep “full alignment” with the EU single market and customs union rules that are crucial to the Good Friday Agreement. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar welcomed the deal as “the end of the beginning” but said Dublin would remain “vigilant” in upcoming negotiations. On its divorce, the most contentious issue, Britain agreed to pay a settlement amounting to between 45 and 55 billion euros. Concerned the welfare and social rights of some million European citizens living in the UK after Brexit, as part of the deal United States EU citizens recourse to the EU’s top court if they feel they are being treated unfairly . – Time warning – Tusk however warned that it was “de facto less than a year” for trade talks as it has taken a year and a half since Britain’s June 2016 Brexit referendum to settle divorce terms. Former Polish first Tusk, who deals with EU leaders, is expected to release draft guidelines on future relations on Saturday. He said he would propose the “immediate” opening of talks on a transition period, which would have been more than two years, but warned Britain would have to “respect the whole of EU law, including new law” during that period. This is likely to be a red line for the Brexit members of May’s Conservative party. Tusk also called for more clarity from the EU’s single market and customs union. He said there would be a separate set of guidelines next year on EU-UK cooperation on security and terrorism. Martin Selmayr finally tweeting a picture of white smoke – the sign used by the Vatican to signify the election of a new pope – after May’s arrival. Juncker spoke first with Varadkar then on a deadlock over the wording of a deal on future arrangements for the Irish border. burs-dk / pdw / DCR
AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND