Foster: Varadkar using Brexit talks to force a united Ireland

  • Foster: Varadkar using Brexit talks to force a united Ireland

Foster: Varadkar using Brexit talks to force a united Ireland

European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted on Friday (24 November) that "Sufficient progress in Brexit talks at December's European Council is possible".

Tusk met with British prime minister Theresa May after the EU's Eastern Partnership summit.

"May agreed to this time frame", the source said. If the United Kingdom fails to make progress in the next ten days then it will be impossible to move onto discussions about trade.

Varadkar's Fine Gael party is standing by Fitzgerald, but his minority government relies on support from Fianna Fail to govern. Attempts to control that flow are likely to be among the most controversial aspects of the Brexit talks.

Coveney told parliament on Thursday that the government was not yet ready to allow the talks to move on to the trade issues at the December 14-15 summit and needed more clarity from London.

"These negotiations are continuing, but what I am clear about is that we must step forward together".

She said: That's not true.

Other EU member states, including France and Germany, have already stated that they are not willing to commit to the second phase of talks until they see the details of the Britain's offer.

France and Germany have been especially keen on not allowing London to think there would be an automatic move to trade talks, once the United Kingdom comes up with an improved proposal on money.

In his speech to the DUP conference this afternoon, Mr Dodds said: "If I'm honest, I did not believe that in 2017 we were heading for a hung Parliament where the DUP would hold the balance of power, but looking back I don't think it was an accident how things turned out".

To date Brussels has insisted that Northern Ireland should continue to comply with an EU customs framework when the rest of the United Kingdom leaves the single market and customs union. Any election could clash with an European Union summit in December when key decisions about the border are set to be made. The unresolved border issue has emerged as one of the key stumbling blocks.

Multiple UK government-set deadlines to form an administration have fallen by the wayside and Northern Ireland is edging toward the re-imposition of direct rule by Westminster.

The two economies are closely integrated and the 310-mile border now allows for free movement of people and goods.

Avoiding a hard border between the two states has become a major political challenge for politicians on all sides of the issue, and Ireland's government has been insistent that no such border can be implemented. "Absolutely not", Coveney said earlier.

However, when leaving the summit, Theresa May repeated that the UK's "desire" is the same as Ireland's.