Brexit border demand: Northern Irish leaders call for clarity

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt addresses a meeting of the United Nations Security Council during the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly

The foreign secretary made the comments at the Tory conference on Sunday.

"What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream?" he asked.

"My assumption is that we will reach an accord which will achieve the conditions of the withdrawal treaty", Juncker said, adding that it was not possible to predict whether there will be a conclusion to the Brexit negotiations in October.

"Comparing the EU to the Soviet Union is as unwise as it is insulting". The EU is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace.

He added that as someone who had spent half of his life under Soviet rule, "I know what I am talking about".

On Friday, EU Brexit negotiators told ambassadors of the 27 states remaining in the bloc that there was no breakthrough on the Irish issue and much would depend on what their British counterparts bring to Brussels next week.

The parties, who will also meet EU Brexit coordinator and ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt, have voiced concerns about the impact of Brexit on the province.

A government source accused Brussels of "gamesmanship" after European Union diplomatic sources said a deal was "very close", suggesting the European Union was putting out positive language so it could blame Britain if no deal could be done.

"The pound has not weakened as feared during the week of the Conservative Party conference".

And in a remark that was welcomed by some Eurosceptics who want to scrap Mrs May's proposed trade plans, he said the European Union remained open to a "Canada plus plus plus" deal - a reference to the EU's free trade deal with Canada.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday Sept
President of the European Council Donald Tusk addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Thursday Sept

He explained that the so-called "Canada+++ deal" was a far-reaching agreement on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation, which was "a true measure of respect".

The deal appears to be dependent on Mrs May accepting different customs arrangements in Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, which she has been clear she will not accept.

"EU must concede that Irish border issue is resolvable via checks away from border, not via backstop which threatens to divide United Kingdom", he wrote on Twitter.

The Daily Telegraph says Tusk's remarks were "welcomed by leading Brexiteer MPs who back a looser "Canada plus" free trade deal with the European Union over the closer Chequers vision championed by Mrs May".

"To agree to any deal, we need to have a legally sound backstop solution for Ireland and Northern Ireland", Barnier said after meeting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Varadkar poured cold water on the UK's proposals.

The EU signalled on Thursday it was engaging with new proposals emerging in Britain on how to avoid extensive Irish border checks after Brexit, the key potential deal-breaker in the talks to end four decades of union.

The small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that props up Britain's minority Conservative government strongly resists any suggestion that there may need to be regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The bloc worries that London would use whatever special trade fix is agreed for Northern Ireland as a building block for the overall future trade relationship to win an unfair competitive edge.

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