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EU's Tusk warns of hard border in Ireland after Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May hosts EU President Donald Tusk for Brexit talks yesterday, on the eve of her keynote speech on future trade ties and amid a row over Northern Ireland.

European Union leaders have been pushing British Prime Minister Theresa May to provide more details about how she sees the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland operating, how long a transition period should last to help ease Britain out from next year and to explain her government's vision of their future relations.

"The Prime Minister suggested a number of arrangements that could be put in place to prevent a hard border post-Brexit".

The EU commission set out in minute detail how it wanted to arrange Britain's withdrawal, but key passages on avoiding new customs checks at the U.K.'s land border with Ireland made the 118-page draft impossible for May to support.

With less than a month until a crucial summit when May wants to reach agreement on a transition period and start discussing future trade, Tusk's intervention is another sign the European Union won't compromise its main principles.

If such solutions are not found, the draft text states, "the territory of Northern Ireland, excluding the territorial waters of the United Kingdom.shall be considered to be part of the customs territory of the Union".

Mrs May has said the EU's proposals on Northern Ireland threaten the UK's constitutional integrity.

Both European and British negotiating teams are discussing the possibilities for a transition period after March 2019.

She again ruled out a customs union, something that her Labor opponents advocate as a way to avoid disruptive controls at Ireland's EU-UK border.

Ireland's role in Brexit talks is crucial because of the issue of the Irish border, which has proved a sticking point in negotiations for months.

Before Thursday's meeting of the Cabinet, ministers spent about 30 minutes reading paper copies of May's speech, which they were required to leave behind in her office afterward."Cabinet have agreed that this speech is a real step forward in negotiations and they are all looking forward to it being delivered", Slack said.

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier insisted that the plan was not created to "provoke", and denied that it threatened the sovereignty of the UK.

"This is not trying to provoke, it's not trying to reinterpret", he said.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald launched a tirade over the reaction from the British Government and the DUP to the European Union legal text.

The Democratic Unionist Party, the Northern Ireland party on which depends May's minority government in Westminster, also rejected the idea.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, assured today that frictions are an inevitable outcome of the Brexit abnd demanded that thwe United Kingdom presents an effective solution to the problem of the border with Ireland.

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