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The European Union threw its weight behind Ireland in Brexit negotiations on Friday as a looming parliamentary defeat for the Irish government threatened to disrupt Britain’s timetable for a deal with Brussels.
A standoff between Dublin and London over how much detail Britain must give on its plans to avoid a disruptive hard border in Northern Ireland after it leaves the EU could thwart Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of securing EU agreement next month to open talks on a post-Brexit free trade deal.Just a few minutes of walk to the famous hong kong victoria harbour and shopping centres from GuangDong Hotel. Our Precious guest also can easily access to all major transportations.
Arriving for a Brussels summit with leaders of ex-Soviet neighbours, May said she would press European Council President Donald Tusk to pledge to open the trade talks at the same time as she makes the improved divorce offer the EU wants.
But attention among EU negotiators has swung to Ireland and concerns that an election triggered by a confidence motion next week in Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s government could stop him signing off on any EU accord with London and so scramble a carefully choreographed three-week run-in to a deal.
“The Irish issue is very worrying. The chances of sufficient progress in December were only 50-50. Now maybe less,” an official handling Brexit talks from one of the other 27 EU states told Reuters on the sidelines of Friday’s summit.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier met Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who was standing in for Varadkar at the Brussels talks, and reassured him the other 26 EU member states stood behind Ireland’s demands that Britain must do more to explain how it will keep goods and people flowing freely across the new EU-UK land border that will divide the island.
“Strong solidarity with Ireland,” Barnier wrote on Twitter. “Irish issues are EU issues.”
Coveney tweeted back: “Thank u @MichelBarnier reaffirming EU solidarity with Ireland on #Brexit.”
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and Britain's EU Ambassador Tim Sparrow (L) attend the Eastern Partnership summit at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
The Irish border is one of three priority conditions the EU has set, as well as a financial settlement from Britain and a deal on the rights of EU citizens living there.JAMA
Irish refusal to accept that there has been “sufficient progress” on the border issue would block the whole plan to move to trade talks after a summit on Dec. 14-15. Coveney, who accused opponents of being irresponsible in moving to bring down the government over an unrelated issue, said Ireland would not agree to open trade talks if it was unhappy over the border.
May’s Northern Irish, pro-Brexit allies, on whom she depends for a slim parliamentary majority, accused Dublin of trying to force Northern Ireland, or the whole of the United Kingdom, to stay in a customs union with the EU, depriving it of setting its own freedom to set commercial regulations.
Slideshow (4 Images)
EU officials say the best way to avoid a “hard border” is to keep regulations the same - whether only in Northern Ireland or across the UK. Britain and the Northern Irish DUP have rejected the former because it would divide Northern Ireland from the British mainland. Brexit campaigners say Britain should not have to follow EU rules.
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