UK and EU 'appear close to Brexit breakthrough'

There are increasing indications that an agreement on the first phase of Brexit talks is about to be struck. EU Council president Donald Tusk said he was "encouraged by progress" and a deal on Ireland, the "divorce bill" and citizens' rights was "getting closer"...


There are increasing indications that an agreement on the first phase of Brexit talks is about to be struck.

EU Council president Donald Tusk said he was "encouraged by progress" and a deal on Ireland, the "divorce bill" and citizens' rights was "getting closer".

Theresa May is meeting EU figures in an attempt to finalise the deal ahead of a summit in 10 days' time.

Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that the UK had made a concession on the Irish border.

The BBC's political editor said Mr Lamberts said the UK was prepared to accept that Northern Ireland may remain in the EU's customs union and single market in all but name.

But, she stressed, the BBC has not yet seen the draft document nor has it yet been signed off.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacted to reports that Northern Ireland could retain "regulatory alignment" with the EU by saying there was "surely no good practical reason" why other parts of the UK could not do the same.

Mrs May is meeting European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council.

Mr Tusk represents the leaders of the other 27 EU members, who all need to agree for there to be a move to the next phase of talks.

The UK voted for Brexit last year and is due to leave in March 2019, but negotiations have been deadlocked over three so-called separation issues.


Source:BBC



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