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emfizz.com December 16, 2017


Ireland govt thrown into crisis ahead of key Brexit talks

26 November 2017, 01:35 | Todd Saunders

Gerry Adams the leader of Sinn Féin

Gerry Adams the leader of Sinn Féin

"This is. unsafe politically at a time when the country does not need an election", he said, in an apparent reference to the December EU summit.

The matter remains a point of fierce contention ahead of a crucial European Union summit in Brussels next month, where member states will decide whether to move Brexit talks to the next stage. But still a huge challenge.

EU officials expect the crunch to come when May returns on Monday, December 4, to meet the EU chief executive, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

With Fianna Fáil broadly supportive of Mr Varadkar's approach on the Border, a change of government is unlikely to bring a significant change of policy on Brexit.

An EU source said Tusk presented May with a timeline ahead of the upcoming December summit with 4 December as the "absolute deadline" for the United Kingdom to make additional efforts, allowing EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to recommend "sufficient progress" to EU leaders. "May agreed to this time frame".

"If we have regulatory divergence, it is very hard to see how you avoid border checks", he added.

"There are still issues across the various matters that we are negotiating to be resolved", May told reporters when leaving Brussels.

What we want to get down to is the detailed work in relation to the border and to our trading relationships and how it's going to work post-Brexit.

"We would honour our commitments and that's what we have been talking about", May said on Friday. We have the same desire.

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For months, the EU's demand for Britain to pay something like 60 billion euros ($72 billion) has seemed the toughest nut to crack.

This decision will be based largely on the success of negotiations so far.

Now, Ireland could be a sticking point. The chances of sufficient progress in December were only 50-50.

Before Foster's address Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, raised one of the biggest cheers of the day when he described Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and the Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, as a "pair of cowboys".

The confidence and supply deal, which sees the DUP's 10 MPs support the Government on crucial votes, was front and centre of proceedings.

European Union officials say the best way to avoid a "hard border" is to keep regulations the same - whether just for Northern Ireland or across the UK.

Arlene Foster, the head of Northern Ireland's DUP, which props up the UK's minority government in London, says her party will not support "arrangements that create barriers to trade" between the province and the rest of the country.

.

Britain has rejected the former because it would divide Northern Ireland from the British mainland.



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