UK, EU Reach Preliminary Brexit Deal 10/17 06:24
Britain and the European Union said Thursday that they have struck an
outline Brexit deal after days of intense see-saw negotiations -- though it
must still be formally approved by the bloc and ratified by the European and
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Britain and the European Union said Thursday that they have
struck an outline Brexit deal after days of intense see-saw negotiations ---
though it must still be formally approved by the bloc and ratified by the
European and U.K. Parliaments.
Hours before a summit of all 28 EU national leaders, European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "We have one! It's a fair and balanced
agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a
"great new deal" and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on
Immediately complicating matters was Johnson's Northern Irish government
allies which didn't waste a minute to say they could not back the outline deal
because of provisions for the Irish border.
Johnson needs all the support he can get to push any deal past a deeply
divided Parliament and will surely temper jubilation at the EU summit. The UK
parliament already rejected a previous deal three times.
Technical negotiators struggled longest to finetune customs and sales tax
regulations that will have to manage trade in goods between the Northern
Ireland and Ireland --- where the U.K. and the EU share their only land border.
After months of gloom over the stalled Brexit process, European leaders have
sounded upbeat this week. French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that
"I want to believe that a deal is being finalized," while German Chancellor
Angela Merkel said negotiations were "in the final stretch."
They were proven right on Thursday.
Upon the news, the pound hit a five-month high upon the U.S. dollar.
Johnson --- who took office in July vowing Britain would finally leave the
EU on Oct. 31, come what may --- likened Brexit to climbing Mount Everest.
He will have to climb some more to get the Northern Ireland's Democratic
Unionist Party on board. DUP leader Arlene Foster and the party's parliamentary
chief Nigel Dodds said they "could not support what is being suggested on
customs and consent issues," referring to a say the Northern Irish authorities
might have in future developments.
The party said the position was unchanged after the announcement of the
Both the customs and consent arrangements are key to guaranteeing an open
border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland --- the main
obstacle to a Brexit deal.