European Union says there has been ‘no breakthrough’ in Brexit talks

Lloyd Doyle
October 12, 2018

EU Brexit pointman Michel Barnier and Martin Selmayr, the powerful head of the EU Commission's bureaucracy, briefed commissioners on progress just a week before the October 18 meeting that has been dubbed a "moment of truth".

May gathered selected members of her cabinet late Thursday to update them on the Brexit talks, and the Financial Times reported that she told them that a deal was drawing closer.

Following three days of talks with key figures in Brussels, DUP leader Arlene Foster said Mrs May could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the European Union.

"The prime minister is a unionist. Many of her cabinet colleagues have assured me of their unionism", she said.

London hopes to resolve the issue with a future trade deal, but agrees there should be a "backstop" arrangement to avoid physical frontier checks until that deal is done.

The EU suggests Northern Ireland stay aligned with its customs union and single market during that period, and there are signs the British government could accept elements of this plan.


The unionist leader said she feared that the European Union was forcing Northern Ireland into a deal that amounted to "the worst of one world" in which the region would remain part of the single market and remain under the ECJ, and would remain subject to trade restrictions with the rest of the UK.

Blasting the proposed deal, she said: "Trade from Great Britain into Northern Ireland would be in danger of restriction". Why would a Unionist politician want to bring down a Conservative and Unionist government, lose the influence it has on that administration and risk the extra funding for Northern Ireland that the DUP received in exchange for agreeing to support the Tory minority government?

Defeat on the Budget could be a mortal blow to the PM's authority and spark a no-confidence vote in the government.

Not such a pleasant morning for the Prime Minister who is trying to please the DUP, the European Research Group - the ultra pro-Brexit wing of her own party - and the EU.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said it may take "many years" for free trade agreements to generate significant benefits for the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union.

The Irish backstop forms part of the exit treaty that the United Kingdom will sign with the European Union when it leaves; it spells out what customs and regulatory arrangements should operate in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the event a comprehensive free trade deal can not be signed by the two parties before the end of 2020 when the Brexit transition period ends.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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