Brexit talks 'breakthrough' for Theresa May in European Union negotiations


Britain's foreign secretary said Wednesday that Brexit negotiations mustn't be held up by disputes over Irish borders and that the issue should be tackled in phase two of departure talks.

A carefully choreographed attempt to showcase the progress of Brexit talks collapsed at the last minute on December 4 when the Northern Irish party which props up May's government vetoed a draft deal already agreed with Ireland.

Pound Sterling is seen racing higher amidst reports that the U.K., Ireland and the European Union are working through the night to try and reach a breakthrough on Brexit negotiations with an announcement possible on Friday morning.

Talks on Brexit divorce terms are making "progress" after EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker spoke by telephone with the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland, and will go on through the night, a spokesman said today. May is struggling to balance those demands against the concerns of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which she relies on to support her government in Parliament.

However, the sides are "not yet fully there" but "talks are continuing throughout the night". "So far, no white smoke", said EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

"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.

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He said: "I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed".

As speculation swirled about whether London, Dublin and Brussels were about to clinch a border deal, European Council President Donald Tusk's office said he would brief reporters at 0650 GMT on Friday before departing for Hungary.

Prime Minister Theresa May travelled Friday morning with an offer: a financial settlement, an agreement on Europeans living in the United Kingdom and a solution for keeping open the border that divides the island of Ireland after the split.

Mrs May's Conservative administration is fiercely divided over Brexit - her Cabinet has yet to decide what kind of trading arrangements it wants from Europe.

The reason for the Sunday night deadline was cited as being the need for European Union sherpas to set the agenda for the Thursday/Friday meeting of European Union leaders at which the way forward on Brexit would be discussed.