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Final Brexit hurdles remain, hours before Johnson meets EU partners

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  Brexit negotiations were running to the wire ahead of an European Union EU leaders summit on Thursday As a key domestic ally of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it could not support the deal on the table Late Wednesday British and EU negotiators reached agreement on all key outstanding obstacles to a Brexit deal barring value added tax regimes according to EU diplomats But early Thursday the Democratic Unionist Party DUP of Northern Ireland said it cannot back the terms of the current deal on the table As things stand we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT the party leadership said in a statement posted on Twitter Johnson is hoping for the support of the DUP to push a Brexit deal through parliament and their opinion could also sway Conservatives in his own party European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker spoke to Johnson early Thursday Every hour and minute counts ahead of the summit Juncker s spokeswoman Mina Andreeva wrote on Twitter We are not there yet German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament in Berlin By Thursday morning the British and EU negotiating teams had not yet produced an all important legal text for European capitals to review ahead of the summit We are still patient a senior EU official said Maybe we will have a deal or maybe not Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct 31 If a deal is not struck on Thursday there may not be enough time to ratify it by Oct 31 the EU official warned Translators are on standby to translate any text into the bloc s 23 languages he noted Any deal will need to be approved by British and EU national parliaments EU officials are wary after an earlier deal negotiated by Johnson s predecessor Theresa May was rejected by parliament in Westminster three times EU leaders are also due to discuss Turkey s incursion into northern Syria after EU ministers resolved earlier this week to curb arms exports to Ankara The bloc which has a close partnership with Turkey on issues including migration has stopped short of issuing sanctions but has condemned the operation North Macedonia and Albania are also awaiting word from the summit on whether they can start EU accession talks after EU ministers failed to come to agreement on the move due to French led opposition EU leaders will also touch base on terse negotiations to conclude the bloc s next long term budget Britain s planned departure will leave a budget shortfall that is making the issue even harder than usual to resolve NAN dpa HS YEE Edited by Halima Sheji Emmanuel Yashim
Final Brexit hurdles remain, hours before Johnson meets EU partners

European Union

  Brexit negotiations were running to the wire ahead of an European Union (EU) leaders’ summit on Thursday.

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British Prime Minister

As a key domestic ally of British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said it could not support the deal on the table.

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Late Wednesday

Late Wednesday, British and EU negotiators reached agreement on all key outstanding obstacles to a Brexit deal, barring value-added tax regimes, according to EU diplomats.

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Democratic Unionist Party

But early Thursday, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland said it cannot back the terms of the current deal on the table.

“As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,’’ the party leadership said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Johnson is hoping for the support of the DUP to push a Brexit deal through parliament, and their opinion could also sway Conservatives in his own party.

European Commission President

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker spoke to Johnson early Thursday.

Mina Andreeva

“Every hour and minute counts’’ ahead of the summit, Juncker’s spokeswoman Mina Andreeva wrote on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“We are not there yet,’’ German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament in Berlin.

British and EU

By Thursday morning, the British and EU negotiating teams had not yet produced an all-important legal text for European capitals to review ahead of the summit.

“We are still patient,’’ a senior EU official said. “Maybe we will have a deal or maybe not.’’

Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct 31.

If a deal is not struck on Thursday, there may not be enough time to ratify it by Oct 31, the EU official warned.

Translators are on standby to translate any text into the bloc’s 23 languages, he noted.

British and EU

Any deal will need to be approved by British and EU national parliaments.

Theresa May

EU officials are wary, after an earlier deal negotiated by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May was rejected by parliament in Westminster three times.

EU leaders are also due to discuss Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, after EU ministers resolved earlier this week to curb arms exports to Ankara.

The bloc, which has a close partnership with Turkey on issues including migration, has stopped short of issuing sanctions but has condemned the operation.

North Macedonia and Albania

North Macedonia and Albania are also awaiting word from the summit on whether they can start EU accession talks, after EU ministers failed to come to agreement on the move due to French-led opposition.

EU leaders will also touch base on terse negotiations to conclude the bloc’s next long-term budget.

Britain’s planned departure will leave a budget shortfall that is making the issue even harder than usual to resolve. (NAN/dpa)

HS/YEE

Edited by Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim

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Sheji Halima

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