Brexit: European Commission says 'sufficient progress' has been made

Brexit: European Commission says 'sufficient progress' has been made

Brexit: European Commission says 'sufficient progress' has been made

After talks in Dublin on Wednesday night, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Dutch PM Mark Rutte made clear the European Union would not compromise and allow the Irish border to be kicked down the road to phase two of the talks, even under threat of Britain crashing out with no deal or divorce negotiations dragging on to 2018.

An early morning meeting in Brussels between Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose efforts to reach a deal broke down in failure earlier this week, was also a possibility, Juncker's spokesman said.

"I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters. The EU had set a deadline of Sunday after the last talks on Monday broke down when May's Northern Irish allies objected to terms for future arrangements for the Irish border.

"We are making progress but not yet fully there", Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said. "Companies all across the United Kingdom want absolute clarity on the long-term deal being sought, and want government to work closely with business experts to ensure that the details are right".

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May's office said she and Varadkar are "working hard to find a specific solution to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland", which have triggered a crisis in Britain's divorce negotiations.

Ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage said on Twitter: "A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation".

European Union leaders meet in Brussels next Thursday and are likely to endorse the assessment that enough progress has been made on the terms of Britain's financial settlement, the status of Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.

The DUP insists it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK.

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The Prime Minister is under intense pressure to get leaders at the December 14 European Council summit to declare "sufficient progress" has been made on divorce issues so trade talks can begin.

They included aligning regulations in Northern Ireland with those in the Republic so as to avoid border checks.

Before his elevation last month, Williamson was Theresa May's chief whip, tasked with keeping unruly members of her Conservative Party under control.

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