Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

European Union members give go-ahead for more intense Brexit talks

Brexit- Flag of European Union Has Boris Johnson conceded to a border in the Irish Sea? Speculations rife as PM and Taoiseach say they have a 'pathway' to a deal
Steven Clarke | 13 October, 2019, 03:16

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "We have been consistent in our opposition to the backstop, whether UK or NI only, and anything that traps Northern Ireland in the European Union, whether Single Market or Customs Union, as the rest of the United Kingdom leaves will not have our support".

Plans by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid concerns about hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit were criticised by European Union leaders at the last week.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday morning that up until hearing of the proposals from Varadkar, he had been preparing to say that there was no basis for a deal before the upcoming two-day EU Summit on October 17 and "no more chances".

British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier met for two hours in the Brussels headquarters of the European Union.

Without the supporting votes of DUP MPs in Westminster, Mr Johnson's Brexit deal will not be able to pass in parliament, therefore securing their support is vital to him.

"Unfortunately we are still in a situation in which the United Kingdom has not come forward with a workable realistic proposal", he added.

Talks would now enter a secretive format of negotiations known as the "tunnel"-used by Johnson's predecessor Theresa May during the final round of negotiations that led to her signing the EU Withdrawal Agreement last November".

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"A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU", Tusk said, but he also added that "there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up".

With the British Parliament and government both rejecting the withdrawal treaty negotiated by Theresa May, and the European Union rejecting a rehash of the treaty with some alternative arrangements for the customs border between EU member-state the Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland put forward by Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom is now headed for a clean break with the bloc - or, if anti-Brexit MPs have their way, yet another Brexit delay.

A fresh referendum is the only way to break the Brexit deadlock, Keir Starmer has said in a move likely to fuel divisions at the top of Labour.

While this would prevent the return of customs checks at the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, it could require customs and regulatory checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Neither side has given details about the common ground that has reportedly been found on the Irish border issue.

And following a heated telephone call between Mr Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, Number 10 sources claimed the European Union was making it "essentially impossible" for Britain to leave with a deal.

MPs pushing for a fresh referendum are expected to try to secure one next weekend when parliament will sit on a Saturday for the first time in nearly 40 years.

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