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Britain confident in Brexit talks, sees no return to hard Irish border

  • Published at 09:51 pm April 20th, 2018
Britain confident in Brexit talks, sees no return to hard Irish border
Britain expressed confidence on Friday that there would be no return of a hard border with EU member Ireland after Brexit, saying it did not recognize reports that the bloc had rubbished its proposals. Last year, the European Union rejected Britain's proposals for preventing a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland, a challenge which has become possibly the most difficult in Brexit talks. On Thursday, The Telegraph newspaper reported Britain's proposals were subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week at a meeting between senior EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator. "We don't recognise these reports," a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters on Friday. "We are confident that in the coming months, if all sides work together productively, we can achieve a solution to the Ireland/Northern Ireland border that works for everyone involved." EU officials said discussions on the border issue this week had not made notable progress. EU negotiator Michel Barnier told French Television that the Irish question continued to pose a risk of failure for an overall agreement on an orderly Brexit. Barnier's aides declined official comment on the British newspaper report. One EU official said British negotiators had put forward ideas which London had first advanced last summer and which had been rejected at the time in Brussels, where EU diplomats called them impractical and a risk to the EU market. Earlier, Britain's Brexit ministry said the government would protect Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom.