Key meeting for Theresa May as Brexit talks enter decisive phase

Blower cartoon December 4

Blower cartoon December 4

Prime Minister Theresa May's government wants the whole United Kingdom regulatory regime - for many areas including financial services - to remain closely linked to European Union rules after Brexit. Over lunch with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the British prime minister will try to persuade them to start discussions on a new trade pact and a two-year transitional deal.

The same paper's Fintan O'Toole tells supporters of leaving the EU without an agreement that the latest crisis shows the "unflinching support of EU member states, the European Parliament, and the EU negotiating team" has put Ireland in a "much stronger political position than Britain".

"The PM said intensive work had been taking place in recent weeks and the United Kingdom and European Commission were very close to getting agreement with only a small number of issues outstanding", the spokesman said.

Brussels officials said they had no reason to doubt the confidence being expressed in London that May would sort out the hitch in the coming days and expect her to return to brief EU Brexit negotiators as early as Wednesday.

"Those Labour members who shout 'how?' - that's the whole point of the second phase of the negotiations".

May has found it difficult to come up with a formula that satisfies both European Union member Ireland, which wants to avoid creation of a "hard" border, and Northern Ireland's DUP party which says the British province must quit the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the UK.

"We're not quite yet where we need to be".

They once suggested Britain could leave without a deal.

According to a agency report, deals were reached this weekend on the United Kingdom "divorce bill" and citizens' rights.

Ireland has called on Britain to provide details of how it will ensure there is no "regulatory divergence" after Brexit in March 2019 that would require physical border controls. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday his country had "no desire" to delay the UK's Brexit talks, although not enough progress had been made so far.

"Hopefully we'll find a way forward today", he said.

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