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04th Dec 2017

A de facto United Ireland? Arlene Foster blocks imminent Brexit deal

It's been a rollercoaster of a day.

Tony Cuddihy


The UK government and the European Union remain very much at odds despite Theresa May’s attempts to get Brexit over the line.

Arlene Foster’s late intervention appears to have scuppered any imminent deal between the UK and the EU, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was also forced to cancel a press conference at the last minute.

A deal over Northern Ireland’s part in Britain’s divorce from the EU was thought to have been agreed between the Irish and UK governments, before Foster said that her party would not accept any deal that separated the UK from Northern Ireland.

The future of Northern Ireland has become a central issue, with the EU ensuring Varadkar’s government maintained a veto on any deal that will result in the return of a ‘hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

On Monday afternoon, a ‘Joint Press Conference’ between British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker became a ‘Joint Statement’, and no agreement was reached.

Juncker said the sides had not reached a complete agreement but said he was confident that differences are “being narrowed” and that an accord will have been reached in time for next week’s summit.

“Despite our best efforts we have made over the last days, it was not possible to reach a complete agreement today,” he said.