UK, Irish ministers say 'very close' to Brexit deal

Aaron Brown
November 4, 2018

Optimism is rising in London and Dublin that Britain and the European Union are inching towards reaching a deal over the status of the Irish border after Brexit within weeks.

The Prime Minister had reportedly persuaded European Union bosses to drop their insistence on splitting up the United Kingdom and separating Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain's Home Nations with customs checks in a so-called "customs compromise".

British Electoral Commission stated previously it had found serious offences in the funding of the group's campaign during the Brexit referendum in June 2016, including loans from impermissible donors and the concealment of financial deals.

A key part of the negotiation is the controversial border "backstop".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says Brexit "has undermined the Good Friday Agreement".

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom would be in a more "bare-bones" customs arrangement with the EU, in which it would apply a common external tariff on imports from outside the union and rules of origin, the FT reported, saying the plan had been presented to EU ambassadors on Wednesday and floated with United Kingdom officials.

Britain´s neighbours, France and Ireland, kept the heat on in Paris meanwhile, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying "we are at a moment of truth in negotiations".

Mr Lidington said he believed they were "very close to resolving" the outstanding issues, and he reiterated the UK Government's commitment "to getting over those final difficulties" in the Brexit negotiations as soon as possible.

The DUP insists that no regulatory barriers can be imposed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after Brexit.

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In a separate statement, May's office said she had told businesses she remained confident about the prospects of agreeing an exit deal.

Mr Raab wrote: "Despite our differences, we are not far from an agreement on this issue".

When discussing Theresa May's agreement to a backstop for Northern Ireland previous year, Sammy Wilson said, "The mind boggles that anyone can be so stupid".

Mr Flanagan said the meeting represented an important opportunity for the two governments to discuss their shared security concerns.

Any agreement with Brussels would then need to win approval from British parliamentarians before the Brexit date of March 29, a far from easy process given factions with Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative party oppose her plans.

The deal offered was bending EU "red lines", which have included refusing to give assurances on future EU-UK trade relations in the Brexit treaty.

"Some of what you read about the stresses and strains that are sometimes reported between the British and Irish government, on a personal that is certainly not the case", Coveney said.

The UK and Ireland are both part of the European Union, so products do not need to be checked to make sure they comply with customs and standards rules.

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Other reports by Free-Prsite

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