May, Juncker meet amid expectation of Brexit breakthrough

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker

It comes after Theresa May and David Davis headed to Brussels to meet with Mr Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

"Discussions about taking forward the Brexit process are ongoing", a British government spokesman said, adding that May had also telephoned with Varadkar.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the Conservatives are relying on to prop up their minority government, refused to support an open Irish border.

"It is moving quite quickly at the moment", the Irish official told a British Irish Chamber of Commerce event in Brussels.

"We believe there is still more work to be done to improve the paper".

Tusk said in October that if London failed to settle divorce terms by the end of this year, the EU would have to reconsider its approach to negotiations meant to limit disruption when Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019.

"We stand ready to receive Prime Minister May at any moment in time when they are ready", Schinas said, but warned: "This will have to have to happen this week".

But the EU will only move to trade talks if there is enough progress on three key issues: the money Britain must pay to the EU; rights for EU citizens in Britain and British citizens in the EU; and how to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

European Council president Donald Tusk is due to make a statement early on Friday morning - in which he could announce a deal. While the parties failed to agree on the most important points of agreement, among which the border regime between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The frenetic talks come ahead of a Sunday deadline for Britain to finalise its divorce terms from the European Union so they can be approved by member states in time for an EU leaders' summit on December 14-15.

Border Risk | The government is making a risky assumption that it won't need new infrastructure on United Kingdom borders on Brexit day, putting too much faith in a potential transition arrangement, the Public Accounts Committee said in a report on Friday.

May wants the European Union to open the so-called second phase of Brexit negotiations, about the trading relationship after the United Kingdom's withdrawal at 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019.



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