‘This is not a failure’: UK, EU fail to reach Brexit agreement
Despite excited speculation, Britain’s and the EU’s negotiators have yet to strike a deal which would allow Brexit talks to enter a second phase. The European Commission head insists that this is not a failure, despite Monday’s missed deadline.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking alongside UK Prime Minister Theresa May, announced to an expectant public that, once again, a deal has not been brokered.
Juncker called May a tough opponent, and said he hoped that an agreement would be reached within the week.
“The prime minister and myself we had a frank and constructive meeting today… She's a tough negotiator and not an easy one. She's defended the point of view of Britain with all the energy we know she has, and I’m doing the same on behalf of the EU,” Juncker said. “Despite our best efforts, and the significant progress we and our teams have made over the past days… it was not possible to reach a complete agreement today.”
“We now have a common understanding on most relevant issues… this will require further consultation, further negotiation, and further discussion,” the commission president added. “I'm still confident that we can make sufficient progress before the EU Council on the 15th of December.
Britain’s Prime Minister said that the rigorous negotiations have been productive and significant progress has been made
“It's clear, crucially, that we want to move forward together but on a couple of issues some differences do remain that require further negotiation and consultation and those will continue… I’m also confident that we will conclude this positively,” May said.
May and Juncker declined to take questions, claiming that the PM was due to have a meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk.
Tusk had cancelled a planned trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories as negotiations reach a "critical moment", an EU official said on Monday.
There were rumors that a deal had been struck concerning the Irish border, however Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar cancelled his planned Monday press conference and has not yet rescheduled, a grim sign for an Irish deal.
Negotiations will reconvene in Brussels later this week.