'Progress on deal' ahead of May-Juncker Brexit talks

'Progress on deal' ahead of May-Juncker Brexit talks

Prime Minister Theresa May's government wants the whole United Kingdom regulatory regime - for many areas including financial services - to remain closely linked to European Union rules after Brexit.

Failure could mean a delay until February, adding to the risk of businesses scaling back investment plans in Britain as uncertainty clouds the outlook beyond Brexit in March 2019.

Denis Staunton, the London editor of the Irish Times, accuses Theresa May of "dithering" on the border issue, and warns that she could come under pressure from the DUP and Brexit supporters in her own party to "walk away from talks".

It is only a matter of time before hardliners will also accept that the only way to prevent a hard border with Ireland is for Northern Ireland to remain in the EU customs union and single market in all but name.

A tentative deal on the border, promising "regulatory alignment" on both sides of the island of Ireland, was agreed on Monday.


The DUP said it's opposed to any arrangement in which the rules in Northern Ireland are different from those that apply in the rest of the United Kingdom. "The PM said she expected to reconvene talks with the commission later this week".

The EU has said it will allow negotiations on the Britain's future trade relations with the EU to begin only when there has been sufficient progress on these separation issues. However, EU officials and diplomats cautioned that it was still unclear that a deal would be struck with the British prime minister when she meets the EU executive.

They once suggested Britain could leave without a deal.

Leaders' advisers, known as "sherpas", meet in Brussels in Monday to prepare the summit. Nadine Dorries, a member of Britain's ruling Conservative Party who supports Brexit, said May should tell European Union officials time is running out to move talks on to the next phase. But any solution will need the support of Northern Ireland's pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 members of parliament are propping up May's government. "The Irish government remains hopeful", the official said.

Coveney said that draft texts were produced following progress in talks last Thursday and that discussions had continued over the weekend.

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