Sterling spikes on news of UK-Ireland trade breakthrough

  • Sterling spikes on news of UK-Ireland trade breakthrough

Sterling spikes on news of UK-Ireland trade breakthrough

Government negotiators have 10 days until the full European summit to try to placate the DUP and make progress towards the Holy Grail of phase two trade talks.

"We can not align the regulation of one part of the United Kingdom with the European Union", he said.

But the issues of the rights of expatriate citizens and the UK-EU border on the island of Ireland remain fraught, diplomats said.

The EU has had "enough time now to decide whether or not they are going to discuss trade with us, they need to get on with it and if they don't get on with it, the closer we get to walking away with no deal", she said.

Nadine Dorries, a member of Britain's ruling Conservative Party who supports Brexit, said May should tell European Union officials time is running out to move talks on to the next phase.

Ireland and the other European Union members are demanding the United Kingdom provide details of how customs checkpoints and other border obstacles can be avoided before negotiations can move on to their next phase of discussing post-Brexit relations like trade.

Donald Tusk, the EU summit chair, tweeted ebulliently after speaking to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that there was progress on the Irish issue to unblock UK-EU trade talks: "Tell me why I like Mondays!" the former Polish premier wrote. The lack of progress so far has raised concerns that Britain may not have a deal by the time it officially leaves on March 29, 2019.

"This is not a failure", Juncker added after a long negotiating lunch with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Prior to May's Brussels trip, expectations were high for breakthroughs on three major Brexit issues, namely the divorce bill, Irish border and citizen's rights.

Such a move would essentially mean Northern Ireland remained inside the Customs Union and the Single Market, leading to a potential decoupling from the rest of the UK.

Elmar Brok, another member of the European Parliament who met Juncker and his Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, shortly before they met May, said "just a few words" had separated the sides and that there was a "very good chance" of agreement. But the border issue has proved more intractable.

Ahead of the meeting, a source close to the discussions on the Irish border told Sky News: "There's been some progress on the wording from both sides, but a bit of a distance to go".

Varadkar said he was "surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier today".