Leo Varadkar warns United Kingdom that progress needed in Brexit talks

Leo Varadkar warns United Kingdom that progress needed in Brexit talks

The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland remains an obstacle on the Brexit talks' agenda as the UK's exit from the European Union may create difficulties for the free movement of goods and workers between the Republic of Ireland and the UK's Northern Irish counties.

The draft "backstop" as it stands keeps Northern Ireland in the EU's "customs territory" and creates a customs border in the Irish Sea.

"Both could possibly work, but there are concerns", Bradley told lawmakers.

In his most defiant remarks yet, he seized on the fact that the "max-fac" proposal sounded like the cosmetics firm Max Factor.

The British Government is in clear disarray over legacy investigations and an Irish unity referendum, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion said today.

"I have certainly not seen to date any detail that indicates that such a solution would be as functional as make-up or a deodorant". The customs partnership favoured by Remain-minded ministers would entail the United Kingdom collecting taxes on behalf of Brussels and acting as its regulatory enforcer. Gove said it was so "flawed" it was unlikely to be delivered on time.

"There is no doubt that a customs partnership hybrid model makes the Irish border situation easier, there is no doubt that the question of the Irish border is resolved by the customs partnership in an easier way than maximum facilitation".

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"If we are not making real substantial progress by June then we need to seriously question whether we are going to have a withdrawal agreement at all", Varadkar said.

By promising to publish a White Paper, a policy document that sets out proposals for future legislation, next month, the government hopes to set out its stall before the next summit of European Union leaders on June 28-29.

Theresa May's "war Cabinet" has agreed an extension as part of a "backstop" that would avoid a hard Irish border if no other solutions are found.

May said three of her objectives - to forge an independent trade policy; a frictionless trade with the European Union and avoid disruption between Ireland and Northern Ireland - were not easy to achieve but maintained that only her government will fulfil the expectations of the pro-leave voters of the 2016 referendum.

Cabinet infighting has prevented any serious movement on Brexit for weeks and officials hope the new proposal might be acceptable to the EU as an alternative to the disputed "backstop" proposal of keeping Northern Ireland within the EU's customs union.

The EU believes that "Max Fac" can not be the solution to the border problem, but contrary to some reports it has not killed off May's customs partnership idea, mainly because it allows a hybrid form of customs cooperation.

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