Britain nears deal with European Union in Irish border Brexit talks

Britain nears deal with European Union in Irish border Brexit talks

Britain nears deal with European Union in Irish border Brexit talks

The Prime Minister is due to travel to Brussels on Monday when she is expected to explain the latest British position at a lunch with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Britain in the coming days needs to demonstrate "sufficient progress" on three key European Union conditions - a financial settlement, rights of expatriate citizens and the Irish border - for leaders to give a green light to trade talks at a summit on 14-15 December.

Tensions between and within the British and Irish Governments escalated November 17 when Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar demanded London provide written assurances no hard border will be erected between the Republic and Northern Ireland, threatening to veto any UK-EU trade agreement not excluding the possibility.

With significant headway on the financial settlement and citizen rights now apparently in the bag, a deal on the Irish border appears to be the final hurdle.

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IT HAS BEEN a tense few weeks in Brexit negotiations, with key Irish border issues coming to the fore of the talks.

Tusk said British Prime Minister Theresa May had until Monday to present her "final offer" on divorce terms so that the 27 other European Union leaders can assess it before a crucial December 14-15 summit in Brussels. Free-flowing commerce, together with the 1998 peace deal between Northern Ireland's Protestants and Catholics, has transformed previously neglected areas on both sides of the boundary.

Avoiding a so-called "hard border" on the island of Ireland is the last major hurdle before Brexit talks can move to negotiations on Britain's future trade relationship with the European Union and a possible two-year Brexit transition deal.

Before it can sign off on the first phase, Dublin wants May to spell out in writing how she intends to make good on a commitment to avoid turning the clock back to a border of customs and security checks.

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"We do not now see how it will be possible to reconcile there being no border with the Government's policy of leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, which will inevitably make the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the EU's customs border with the United Kingdom", the report read.

"We have grown used to a border that is largely invisible", Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters Friday. Coveney said negotiators were working to find "sensible wording", drafts of which were being exchanged.

The political stakes were dramatically raised for UK Prime Minister Theresa May November 30 when Democratic Unionist Party Member of Parliament Sammy Wilson, widely seen as representing the general sentiment within the organization, publicly warned the DUP's continued support for the Conservative Government is conditional on the outcome of the negotiated status of Northern Ireland.

A mis-step by May could bring down the British government or spook British businesses fearful of a cliff-edge Brexit without a transition deal.

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