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EU, UK declare first Brexit 'breakthrough'
08 December 2017, 10:47 | Devin Moran
MP Mike Gapes
British Prime Minister Theresa May is set for a possible meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels early on Friday in a bid to seal a Brexit divorce deal, the EU said.
On Monday, the DUP - whose support the United Kingdom prime minister needs to win key votes in Westminster - objected to draft plans drawn up by the United Kingdom and the EU.
The DUP objected to plans for "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the Republic to maintain a soft border between the two, arguing it would amount to the drawing of a new frontier with the United Kingdom mainland in the Irish Sea. Breaking the gridlock took months of work and a series of missed deadlines.
The UK, which is due to leave the European Union in March 2019, wants to open talks on a new free trade deal as soon as possible.
She must also convince her divided Conservative Party that the deal she makes is acceptable.
He warned that Britain had consumed much of its negotiating time on issues he said were easier than the thorny subjects to come. "They will be able to go on living their lives as before".
The Tanaiste says Dublin will not back any Brexit deal that deviates from the core principles of this week's ill-fated draft UK/EU agreement.
But the agreement was scuttled at the last minute by a party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government.
The EU has already started mapping out what it intends to put on the table - a deal along the lines of the one it offered Canada.
Britain is due to exit the single market and customs union in 2019.
Q. What happens if Mrs May does not get agreement on Friday? It remains to be seen how pro-Brexit Conservatives respond to her concessions. The European Union has pushed for an oversight role for the European Court of Justice, a judicial body in Luxembourg that anti-E.U. advocates in Britain have long loathed as a symbol of lost sovereignty.
And the UK Foreign Secretary and leading Cabinet Brexiteer Boris Johnson insisted any deal must stick to the spirit of the Leave campaign.
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.
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