Irish border question 'is a European issue' - Junker

EU Throws Down Gauntlet to May

Theresa May has committed to withdrawing from the customs union and single market, which would mean there would need to be border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - this being the only land border the United Kingdom shares with the EU - whilst also insisting that one of her primary goals is to avoid a hard border within Ireland.

Mr. Juncker says both sides have agreed that there should be no hard border on the island of Ireland and that must be respected.

"The draft protocol on Ireland should not come as a surprise", he said.

She also rejected any suggestion that Ulster would remain locked into the European Union economically, leading to a customs border between it and the rest of the United Kingdom in the Irish Sea.

"Our existing trade agreements give a flavor of how it could look like, but anyway it's less than being part of the single market and it has an impact on the financial sector too", Katainen said.

Many saw the speech as a clarification of London's position on the future EU-Britain relationship, but Juncker's Wednesday statements indicate that speeches will not take the place of signed agreements.

"I am determined to avoid that particularly absurd outcome of Brexit", EU President Donald Tusk said in Luxembourg on March 7, when the UK's partners in the bloc produced a blueprint for future economic ties with Britain.

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Michel Barnier said any attempt by Britain to gain a competitive edge through the use of what is termed "dumping" would jeopardize hopes the country has for a smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU.

The case hangs on whether they can convince a Dutch court that European Union citizenship does not replace national citizenship, rather they exist alongside each other, Business Insider reports.

The agreement would be based around four "pillars" - trade, foreign policy and security cooperation, internal security and "thematic" cooperation, which includes education and research programmes.

Barnier meanwhile said a whole range of options for third-country cooperation were on the table - the European Union has previously cited trade deals of the type it has with Canada and South Korea.

Tony Blair, speaking to the BBC this month, suggested that it was becoming more likely that Brexit would not happen, and that the European Union should instead bring in generous reforms to keep Britain from leaving.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, a fierce critic of Britain's decision to leave, tweeted: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the British people".

After Donald Trump vowed to hike tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium, a move that is expected to hurt European businesses and the wider economy, Brussels threatened to retaliate with tariffs on United States products such as orange juice, motorbikes, jeans and peanut butter.

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