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Brexit border deal possible in 'hours', Irish official says

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Theresa May will travel to a critical European Union summit. Pic Rick Findler  PA Wire

He said that he would recommend to European Union leaders that "sufficient progress has been achieved" on the terms of the divorce to starting talking about issues like future relations and trade.

Talks between May and Juncker in Brussels on Monday broke up without a deal after the pro-British DUP party in Northern Ireland that props up the British leader's government objected to a clause in the draft agreement about future arrangements for the Irish border.

"It hasn't been easy for either side", May said in an early-morning news conference in Brussels following all-night talks.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker needs to have a meeting with Theresa may, the head of the British Parliament.

The Republic of Ireland wants no border on the island, the United Kingdom wants to leave the single market that makes the nearly invisible border possible, and the Democratic Unionist Party that props up Mrs May in London is adamant that any efforts to prevent a border on the island don't create the need for a boundary between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

May, who is now scrambling to thrash out a deal with the European Union while keeping the DUP, which props up her minority government, and her own party onside, may return to Brussels as early as Wednesday to continue talks, a Downing Street official said.

"We are making progress but not yet fully there".

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"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".

With the clock ticking down to the March 2019 exit date, the report says the biggest risk factor that there may be no trade deal is the shortage of time.

The DUP insists it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland was treated differently from the rest of the UK.

"This Government will continue to govern in the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland and uphold the Agreements that have underpinned the huge progress that has been made over the past two decades", a statement published on the government's website said.

The EU says May has an effective deadline of Sunday night if she wants to seal a deal and hope to have agreement on trade talks in time for the EU summit on December 15.

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

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