DUP rejects Barnier bid to solve Ireland border obstacle to Brexit progress

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The Prime Minister will address leaders of the other EU nations at a meeting in Salzburg tomorrow but will be given a brief time slot - despite European leaders being in the Austrian city for two days.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will chair the meeting.

At a summit dinner at the Felsenreitschule theater - known to film fans for a scene in the musical "The Sound of Music" - May will make another pitch for support for her Chequers plan, named after her country residence where a deal was hashed out with her ministers earlier this year. Mel Stride, a junior treasury minister, said pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers could usher in a second referendum on European Union membership if they reject her plan. There would be no border as such between the province and the mainland but checks, often by British officials, at factories, markets, on ships and in ports, on the status of goods moving between the two. If informal talks aren't going to go well, then there is little hope for an actual deal to come when push comes to shove.

They agreed that parliaments in Strasbourg and Westminster should be able to vote on a "precise plan" for the future UK-EU relationship after Brexit.

However, pro-Brexit Conservative MP Andrew Bridgin poured scorn on the IMF's analysis saying that the IMF had been wrong before, and were so again: "Christine Lagarde, the same IMF, who told us that if we even voted we would be in an immediate recession, it's the same IMF that didn't foresee the economic crash in 2008".

With May's plans in doubt, many British ministers have outlined the damage that they say a disorderly "no-deal" Brexit would do to the world's fifth-largest economy and its reputation as a politically stable haven for investment.

Mr Barnier's comments came after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had earlier told the Dail in Dublin: "I do not anticipate there will be any change to the EU's position or any change to our negotiating guidelines".

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"We are near to achieving the orderly withdrawal that is an essential basis for building a close future partnership", May wrote in an article for Germany's Die Welt newspaper.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier hinted the EU was willing to compromise with Britain in order to strike a deal - something that would provide a much needed boost to the Prime Minister.

The informal gathering in Austria is unlikely to bring concrete results - but both sides see a chance for progress ahead of a crucial European Union summit in October.

But now, Mr Barnier, revealed, there was a Plan B; an "improved" proposal.

"So Michel Barnier says he can do different kinds of checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom as if that makes it more palatable,"said Mr Dodds". As mentioned several times in the past, the key sticking point in Brexit talks remains that of the Irish border.

He said the new plan would not involve customs checks in the Irish Sea and would respect the "territorial integrity of the UK". He hopes for a "moment of truth" at an October 18 summit in Brussels, where leaders could agree the outline accord with May. We will see whether an agreement is in reach at that moment based on a subjective evaluation which I will be submitting in reporting to the European leaders on the state of negotiations'.



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