Irish PM 'surprised and disappointed' by no deal on Irish border

Dec 05, 2017, 01:59
Irish PM 'surprised and disappointed' by no deal on Irish border

At around midday, the pound hit a day's high of 1.3523 against the dollar after news emerged that Westminster will concede on European Union trade rules for Northern Ireland.

Despite intense efforts over the weekend to agree on a proposal on how to avoid a hard border in Ireland, Irish officials revealed on Sunday night that "there is still a way to go" to achieve a meeting of minds on the issue, reports the Guardian.

The concession has yet to be accepted by the Irish government.

It is understood this is a sticking point in reaching a deal on post-Brexit citizens' rights, the part of the phase one divorce negotiations that had previously been considered to be the most advanced.

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An agreement that would commit Britain to maintaining "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit would make it easier to avoid a hard border but limit the UK's ability to change its economic regulations to strike new trade deals across the world.

David McAllister, a vice-president of the European People's Party - the European Parliament's largest grouping - said it was "difficult to predict" whether EU leaders will sanction the start of second phase Brexit talks this month, also classing the prospects of progress at "50/50".

"We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the United Kingdom", she said.

But a failure to agree on the other issues and move onto the next phase of talks raises the risk of Britain crashing out of the European Union in 2019 without arrangements on the terms of divorce or future relationship.

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She said: "There are a couple of issues, some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

If she had ignored their concerns, there's little doubt that the party's 10 MPs would have sat on their hands and not supported the Conservatives in important votes on the EU Withdrawal Bill this week. "Getting closer to sufficient progress at December (EU summit)".

"Not every single question has to be answered but we need sufficient progress on these very sensitive issues".

While for months a divorce settlement on financial issues between the United Kingdom and the European Union represented the biggest hurdle to progress in talks, the United Kingdom last week mostly agreed to pay what the European Union has been asking for.

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Varadkar said he was "surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier today".