May, Juncker meet amid expectation of Brexit breakthrough

AP  Virginia Mayo

AP Virginia Mayo

Sufficient progress has been made in Brexit talks, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said; paving the way for talks on the future UK-EU relationship.

"We cautioned the prime minister about proceeding with this agreement in its present form given the issues which still need to be resolved and the views expressed to us by many of her own party colleagues", said Ms Foster.

European Council President Donald Tusk offered firm terms on Friday, saying that he believed E.U. leaders should demand that Britain face most of the requirements of E.U. membership even though it would no longer have any of the decision-making powers over the course of the roughly two-year transition period.

The DUP insists it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK.

On Wednesday, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) hit back at plans, insisting they would not allow the Province to leave the European Union on different terms to the rest of the United Kingdom and be left effectively tethered to the bloc.

"Discussions about taking forward the Brexit process are ongoing", a British government spokesman said, adding that May had also telephoned with Varadkar.

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If so, the European Union would then open long-anticipated talks on a future trade deal and a transition period with Britain.

"While we support David Davis' ambition to secure a comprehensive agreement by 29 March 2019, nearly nobody outside the Government thinks this will be possible", Jay said.

On the issue of the UK's so-called "divorce bill", which is expected to total up to £50 billion, Mrs May said that in her landmark speech in Florence in September she had made clear the United Kingdom was "a country that honours our obligations".

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) insists that Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, must leave the European Union in the same way as the rest of the United Kingdom.

It comes after Theresa May and David Davis headed to Brussels to meet with Mr Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

The Government I lead will never be neutral when it comes to expressing our support for the Union.

"It is very, very important that whatever happens now, whatever we agree, has got to be consistent with taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash", he said.

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