Brexit deal on Irish border possible by Friday - EU Commission

Brexit deal on Irish border possible by Friday - EU Commission

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Brexit negotiations must not be held up by disputes over Irish borders and that the issue should be tackled in phase two of departure talks.

The DUP also said that its support for the final deal would depend on its contents, and that it had cautioned British Prime Minister Theresa May about its reservations.

Donald Tusk - the president of the European Council - speaks during a press conference at Government buildings in Dublin, Ireland, December 1, 2017. "Talks are continuing throughout the night".

Britain and Ireland could reach agreement within hours on how to run their post-Brexit Irish land border, paving the way for a deal that would remove the last obstacle to opening free trade talks with the European Union.

The Lib Dem spokesman said there was "still no solution over how to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland" in the text of the joint report. But Ireland's demands that Brexit should not lead to the return of checkpoints on the border with Northern Ireland, which it said could jeopardise the peace process in the north, proved the biggest stumbling block at the end.

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"The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that "no deal" would be the worst possible outcome for the United Kingdom, in terms of the economy, security, the environment and citizens' rights", said Michael Jay, a member of the Lords EU committee and former head of Britain's diplomatic service.

But more significantly - and perhaps crucially - the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds and the party's chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson were seen emerging from 70 Whitehall, the offices of the PM's de-facto deputy, Damian Green.

They meet in Brussels in a week to decide whether enough ground has been made to broaden the talks to future relations and trade, as Britain so badly wants.

All sides want progress on the issue ahead of a crucial summit next week, so talks can move on to the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union after Brexit.

"We are in a position where we still need to find a way forward but, let me be very clear, the core issues that Ireland got agreement on at the start of this week are not changing", he said. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - a leading Brexit campaigner - voiced concerns to May earlier this week when it looked like she was aiming for to preserve European Union rules after the divorce.

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