EU’s Tusk blasts Tories over 'insulting' rhetoric but offers Brexit trade deal

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Ireland does not want a notional border to emerge in the Irish Sea that would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Wednesday.

The UK is due to finalise its divorce from the European Union next March, but the two sides have not yet reached agreement on how this will work.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar arrives in Brussels to meet European Union officials on Thursday as Brexit talks enter a frenzied fortnight created to produce a divorce deal with Britain and a blueprint for future ties.

"And we won't be the only prisoner that will want to leave", he added.

Foster has also insisted Theresa May needs to show her any new proposals on the Irish border before presenting them to the European Union, but she declined to state whether her party would vote against the Government if she considered any proposals unacceptable. Much further-reaching on trade, on internal security and on foreign policy cooperation.

The change in tone comes two days after EU Council President Donald Tusk gave London a stern warning that time was running out to strike a deal in time for Britain's departure from the bloc at the end of March.

"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.

Negotiators are yet to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

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"I am sure you will also remember who was the first to declare full solidarity with the United Kingdom at that critical moment", Tusk baulked, adding, "Unfortunately, that was not a unique incident". The EU is about freedom and human rights, prosperity and peace.

He added that a Canada +++ deal would mean "the challenge for the Government is exclusively solving the Irish border question - which is a political issue".

The British government is expected to table new proposals in an attempt to break the impasse over the Irish border, but a role for the devolved assembly remains unclear. What needs to be done is maximum progress by the October European Council.

A member of EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's team told a briefing with national diplomats in Brussels late on Thursday a divorce deal with Britain was "very close", according to two sources present.

Mr Varadkar is also due to meet the chair of the European Parliament's Brexit Steering Group, Guy Verhofstadt.

The EU has feared such an arrangement could allow Britain to use Northern Ireland's special access to the bloc's single market to push goods that did not conform to high EU norms, and hence be sold cheaper.

Varadkar also met European Union summit chair Donald Tusk in Brussels.