British PM in Brussels amid possible Brexit breakthrough

British PM in Brussels amid possible Brexit breakthrough

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 Prime Minister Theresa May's government vetoed a draft deal already agreed with Ireland.

Ireland wants to reach an agreement on the future of the Irish border after Brexit that is based on the principles struck in a tentative deal on Monday, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.

"But I would like to repeat what President Juncker said on this, namely that this will have to happen this week, in this building".

"We are making progress but not yet fully there", Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

He said no particular words or combination of words were discussed.

"It is moving quite quickly at the moment", the Irish official told a British Irish Chamber of Commerce event in Brussels. "We are here to work constructively with the United Kingdom government to come to an agreement based on the principles that we had agreed to yesterday", Varadkar told parliament on Tuesday.

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.

Theresa May will put forward a fresh offer to solve the Irish border dispute within hours, as the EU's Brexit negotiator said Friday was the deadline to rescue a deal.

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.

But EU sources said it was still possible that European leaders could agree at the summit next week that there had been "sufficient progress", in order to give May a win, while postponing their approval of the guidelines for trade talks.

The border between Ireland, a member of the European Union (EU), and the British province of North Ireland, is one of the three major issues to be resolved before an agreement is reached by London and Brussels over the British exit from the regional bloc.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told Sky News there had now been changes following talks with May.

She must also convince her divided Conservative Party that the deal she makes is acceptable.

Juncker repeated that he didn't want Britain to leave the European Union - the first time a member country has ever done so - saying "I will always be sad about this development but now we must start looking for the future".

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