15:31 GMT +323 January 2020
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    'No Deal Better Than a Bad Deal'? Brexit Negotiations Underway (37)
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    British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to hold vital talks with EU leaders today that will decide the future of Brexit.

    European Council President Donald Tusk has commented on the talks with the Irish prime minister, saying that he was "encouraged" and that the Brexit talks were getting closer to entering their second stage.

    According to the Reuters news agency, citing sources in the Irish government, the UK and the EU negotiators have reached agreement on Brexit deal on all issues concerning the border control between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Previously, BBC has reported that the Conservative Government was in an "upbeat mood," as it was finally able to come up with a single negotiating stance on such issues as its "divorce bill" from the European Union and the issue of citizens' rights in the post-Brexit era.

    The Conservatives, who worked intensely on the proposals during this weekend, have just fulfilled the deadline set by EU President Donald Tusk, who called on the UK to come forward with its plan on the key Brexit issues by "the beginning of December at the latest."

    However, the Tories failed to offer their solution to the border control issue between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Theresa May will present her proposals to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker as well as Tusk during the scheduled lunch, which has been described by  Downing Street as an "important staging post" en route to the "crucial" mid-December EU summit that is expected to set the guidelines for the UK's withdrawal from the Union.

    Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016 and the country is expected to cease its membership by March 2019.

    READ MORE: Brexit, Sex and Priti Secret Ties: Does UK PM Theresa May Have Herself to Blame?

    However, much uncertainty, particularly in the economic sphere, remains as Britain stands to lose big if no coherent exit strategy is implemented before it fully withdraws from the EU.

    Theresa May's government sought to begin negotiations with  European leaders on the post-Brexit trade agreement, yet the EU leadership has been reluctant to include it on the agenda before the UK proposes solutions to  three crucial issues.

    The first one is finance, as the EU demands that the UK pays a hefty severance package for its decision to leave the Union.

    British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who led the campaign effort to take Britain out of the EU, vehemently rejected the idea that the UK would honor its share of the Union's loans, pensions and other financial liabilities worth some £54bn, telling the EU leaders to "go whistle."

    The Europeans, however, did not follow this advice, when he was asked about Britain's financial statement in October, Junker staunchly replied that "they will have to pay."

    READ MORE: British Pound Peaks As UK Allegedly Agrees to EU Divorce Demands

    Since then, even Johnson, has bowed down to the pressure, stating that the new British proposals that seem to acquiesce to the severance package, will "get the ships off the rocks" amid calls by fellow Tories to rally behind May or sacrifice Brexit.

    Speaking to ITV, Health Secretary Jeremey Hunt said: "If we don't back Theresa May we will have no Brexit."

    A senior EU official confirmed to the Guardian that the UK will indeed pay the "divorce bill."

     "We have heard the UK wants to come along with the money."

     "We have understood it covers the liabilities and what we consider the real commitments. But we have to see the fine print," the official said.

    Another heavily contested issue that was resolved by the new proposal was the post-Brexit rights of some 2.9 million EU nationals living in Britain.

    Earlier, Theresa May was accused of blackmailing the EU to reach a favorable deal by leaving the fate of its nationals uncertain.

    The final point of contention is the border between the two Irelands, as the EU, which heavily participated in the mediation of the Good Friday Agreement that ended hostilities in Northern Ireland, wants public assurances that no hard border will be introduced between the two regions.

    This remains a highly controversial issue as the control of its borders and reassertion of sovereignty was one of the primary reasons for the UK's withdrawal from the Union.

    'No Deal Better Than a Bad Deal'? Brexit Negotiations Underway (37)


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    Brexit 'divorce bill', Northern Ireland peace process, Brexit talks, EU citizens, Brexit, rights, European Commission, European Union, Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk, Theresa May, Westminster, United Kingdom, Brussels
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