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May, Juncker meet amid expectation of Brexit breakthrough
08 December 2017, 10:47 | Opal Carroll
Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker
Virginia Mayo AP
"However, it was ultimately a matter for the Prime Minister to decide how she chose to proceed".
"Early morning meeting possible with press point thereafter", Schinas said.
May has found it difficult to come up with a formula that satisfies both European Union member Ireland, which wants to avoid creation of a "hard" border, and Northern Ireland's DUP party, which says the British province must quit the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the UK.
"We cautioned the prime minister about proceeding with this agreement in its present form given the issues which still need to be resolved and the views expressed to us by many of her own party colleagues", said Ms Foster.
DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Discussions are ongoing". If a hard Brexit for most of the United Kingdom and a soft Brexit for Northern Ireland is out of the running because of the DUP, and a hard Brexit for the whole of the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland is out because of the border issue, that leaves only a soft Brexit for all of the UK.
"I think we are going to work over the next couple of hours with the United Kingdom government to close this off".
The significance of the precise timing of Mr Tusk's statement is that it is before the London Stock Exchange opens, which fuelled speculation that he will announce a deal giving the go-ahead for trade talks, which would send up share prices.
And after a phone call with Mrs May on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said the PM was hoping to return with a new formal written offer by Thursday, but warned, if there was no agreement, talks would be picked up in the New Year.
Britain and the European Union have only days to clinch a deal on borders, Britain's financial settlement with its European Union partners and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit before a December 14-15 European Union summit that will decide whether Brexit talks can move on to future relations and trade.
Britain leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019, but negotiations must be wrapped up within a year to leave time for parliaments to endorse any deal.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney wrote on Twitter that a deal has been confirmed and that Ireland supports Brexit negotiations moving to Phase 2.
"We are in a position where we still need to find a way forward but, let me be very clear, the core issues that Ireland got agreement on at the start of this week are not changing", he said.
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