Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

NI 'disagreement' must not lead to no deal Brexit - May

NI 'disagreement' must not lead to no deal Brexit - May

"We were actually pretty hopeful that we would manage to seal an exit agreement" but "at the moment, it looks a bit more hard again", the German chancellor told the German Foreign Trade Federation of the latest talks, which have largely been held in secret.

Tusk, in his invitation letter to a leaders' summit, starting on Wednesday evening with a dinner to which Theresa May will present her thoughts on the Brexit talks, said recent the recent negotiations had "proven to be more complicated than some may have expected".

"As the chief negotiator has always said, Brexit is a lose-lose situation so we have to make our utmost to be not 100 percent lose-lose", he noted, referring to EU Brexit pointman Michel Barnier.

The UK is continuing with preparations in the event of no deal, confirmed the prime minister.

She said it was frustrating that the two sides could settle the Irish border issue, but said it should not be allowed to "derail" the chances of reaching a deal.

"This is what our state of mind should be at this stage. At the moment it looks more hard", Merkel said, adding "we'll just have to keep negotiating".

Theresa May raised the prospect of any Brexit deal being delayed until December as she battled a Conservative backlash over her handling of negotiations with Brussels.

The British prime minister, who relies on support from a tiny Northern Irish group - the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - for her parliamentary majority, faces strong resistance from the DUP to any deal that leaves the territory under the EU's jurisdiction.

There remains a large degree of agreement between negotiators on both sides, and texts are being worked upon, with diplomats in Brussels believing that there will be a moment where the prime minister will be able to risk cabinet resignations and the wrath of the DUP to strike a deal.


There will be no further attempt to resolve the impasse before European Union leaders gather in the Belgian capital on Wednesday for the summit they'd hoped to use to finalize the divorce.

A senior European Union diplomat said the leaders would decide on Wednesday evening whether a November summit was feasible given the lack of obvious progress.

Mrs May only said she "expects" that to be the end date.

He warned: "If you do no more legislating we will leave on the 30 March 2019 with no agreement". "We are mean but not that mean".

One proposal is to keep the United Kingdom inside the EU's customs union on a temporary basis, which would mean no new checks on goods passing from Northern Ireland to Ireland would be needed. If there is any time, any window of opportunity for people to think and come up with rival ideas, then any compromise is surely doomed. However for a breakthrough to take place despite good will, we need new facts. "We are still positive we can achieve it, so there's no reason to despair".

However, hopes of that happening were dealt a major blow on Sunday when ministers failed to make anticipated progress on the Irish border problem.

This could be framed as a virtue, as pragmatism, in that it may be the only way to get the exit from the European Union that Leavers want - any ideologue could find themselves constrained by the fact that none of what the Brexit voters were promised is possible, whereas May is happy to deliver a dog's breakfast as she never quite believed in any of them. "Nobody was suggesting in March that the backstop would be time limited", Coveney said.

"There was always going to be a moment like this, but we should remember that a huge amount of progress has been made".

He said: "I think that is very unsafe for us and it's something that we have to resist".

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