Sunday, 18 November, 2018

EU Brexit envoy says ‘much more work’ needed to clinch deal

Brexit: l'UE refroidit les espoirs britanniques d'un sommet dès novembre Irish Prime Minister says hopes of reaching November Brexit deal are fading
Steven Clarke | 08 November, 2018, 14:10

The main sticking point is the border between European Union member Ireland and the British-ruled province of Northern Ireland.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar also said today that as the days went by a summit in November was getting less likely.

The european negotiator Michel Barnier held Wednesday insufficient progress with the London agreement on the exit of the Uk from the EU, and cooled the hopes of the british of an extraordinary summit in early November.

Varadkar suggested that summits set for mid December could prove to be the new deal-signing day, but that it would "not be a good thing" for talks to stretch out into the New Year.

The issue of the Irish border - and how to avoid customs checks that could undermine the Northern Ireland peace deal - has forced the negotiations into an impasse.

"We need much more work" to clinch an agreement, Michel Barnier told The Associated Press on the sidelines of a congress of center-right political parties in Helsinki, Finland. The clock is ticking.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has led calls in Government for full legal advice on plans for a customs backstop to be shared with ministers so they can make an informed decision about the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.

In setback, Pompeo's North Korea meetings called off without explanation
House of Representatives on Tuesday after the Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with his presidency in mid-term elections. The State Department said the meeting would take place at an unspecified later date, "when our respective schedules permit".

"Without a backstop there will be no deal".

It is unclear whether May can get parliament to support a Brexit deal: About 320 votes are needed to win, but May's 315 Conservative lawmakers are not united behind her plans.

The First british minister Theresa May was interviewed on the phone in the morning with the president of the european Council Donald Tusk to "provide an update on the progress of discussions on the Brexit".

Tuesday, on a visit to London, the head of the diplomacy of the belgian Didier Reynders has found hard to reach an agreement before the end of the year, and pointed out that "the possibility of a" no deal, " + (absence of agreement) is more and more present".

"This election will be tougher than those before", Barnier said. May also told him that there would need to be a mechanism to end it.

On Monday, however, Barnier will brief ministers from the other 27 European Union member states on the situation in the talks - even as their capitals ramp up planning for how to deal with a "no deal" Brexit.

Later, addressing leaders of the European People's Party group, Barnier warned of the threat that rising nationalism and populism pose to the EU ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

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