Theresa May announced yesterday that the UK and the EU failed to reach an agreement to move to the next stage of the divorce talks. The British leader said that the negotiations would convene again “before the end of the week” and that she was “confident we will conclude this positively”. The talks are believed to have broken down after Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) did not accept concessions regarding the future of the Irish-Irish border. London, however, commented that this was not the only outstanding problem.
“I am surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier today,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said at a press conference in Dublin. The UK government was reportedly willing to accept that Northern Ireland may remain in the EU’s customs union and single market. DUP leader Arlene Foster said that party would “not accept any form of regulatory divergence” that separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. DUP also stressed that it would veto any move to make Northern Ireland close to the Republic.
The Irish broadcaster RTE reported that the draft deal stipulated that “in the absence of agreed solutions the UK will ensure that there continues to be no divergence from those rules of the internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North South cooperation and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.” Downing Street later commented that “the PM has been clear that the UK is leaving the European Union as a whole and the territorial and economic integrity of the United Kingdom will be protected,” the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said.