Brexit breakthrough: UK, European Union reach agreement

Credit: Carl Court

Credit: Carl Court

The United Kingdom and the European Union have reached a preliminary agreement on Brexit, CNN reported Friday.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels on Friday morning following overnight talks on the issue of the Irish border, the BBC reported. After late-night talks with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, May said there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

In Brussels, May met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

“We had to make the deal today,” Juncker said, as a Dec. 14 deadline approached. “Sufficient progress has now been made on the three terms of the divorce,”

Negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the EU can now proceed to the next stage, CNN reported.

“This hasn't been easy for either side,” May said. “Getting to this point has required give and take on both sides.”

The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster, said Friday she was “pleased” to see changes which mean there is "no red line down the Irish Sea,” the BBC reported.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the latest deal was a “very good outcome for everyone on the island of Ireland.”

The sticking points in the negotiations had been threefold: that rights of European citizens in the UK are guaranteed, that Britain pays a substantial "divorce bill,” and that there is no reinstatement of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, CNN reported.

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