‘IT is not possible for us to reach an agreement today,’ Jean Claude Juncker, EU Commissioner said at a press conference yesterday as the talks between Tory PM Theresa May and the EU broke up without a deal.
Juncker continued: ‘We now have a common understanding of the most important issues with just two or three open for discussion which require further conversation, further negotiations and further discussion.’
Speaking at the press conference Theresa May said: ‘… A couple of issues of some difference do remain which require further negotiation and consultation. Those will continue, but we will reconvene before the end of the week.’
The press conference itself lasted barely five minutes and no questions were taken as Juncker said that May had to go to a meeting with President of the EU Donald Tusk. All day the press had been briefing that a deal was certain. The ‘couple of issues’ that May was referring to is in fact the burning issue of what happens to the Irish border after Brexit.
It was the DUP leader Arlene Foster who threw the hand grenade into the negotiations, who said before negotiations began: ‘We will not accept any form of regulatory diversion which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the UK. The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must not be compromised.’
Scottish SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon had earlier said if the north of Ireland should have a separate relationship with the EU and be in the Single Market while the rest of the UK is out, then the same should apply to Scotland.
Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan then chimed in that London, as a separate ‘city state,’ should therefore also have its own separate relationship with the EU and remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union.
Faced with the disintegration of the United Kingdom before her very eyes, May had little option but to register no deal in the negotiations between her and Juncker.