UK, EU Reach Preliminary Brexit Deal 10/17 06:24

UK, EU Reach Preliminary Brexit Deal   10/17 06:24

   Britain and the European Union said Thursday that they have struck an 
outline Brexit deal after days of intense see-saw negotiations -- though it 
must still be formally approved by the bloc and ratified by the European and 
U.K. Parliaments.

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- Britain and the European Union said Thursday that they have 
struck an outline Brexit deal after days of intense see-saw negotiations --- 
though it must still be formally approved by the bloc and ratified by the 
European and U.K. Parliaments.

   Hours before a summit of all 28 EU national leaders, European Commission 
President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "We have one! It's a fair and balanced 
agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find 
solutions."

   British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a 
"great new deal" and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on 
Saturday.

   Immediately complicating matters was Johnson's Northern Irish government 
allies which didn't waste a minute to say they could not back the outline deal 
because of provisions for the Irish border.

   Johnson needs all the support he can get to push any deal past a deeply 
divided Parliament and will surely temper jubilation at the EU summit. The UK 
parliament already rejected a previous deal three times.

   Technical negotiators struggled longest to finetune customs and sales tax 
regulations that will have to manage trade in goods between the Northern 
Ireland and Ireland --- where the U.K. and the EU share their only land border.

   After months of gloom over the stalled Brexit process, European leaders have 
sounded upbeat this week. French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that 
"I want to believe that a deal is being finalized," while German Chancellor 
Angela Merkel said negotiations were "in the final stretch."

   They were proven right on Thursday.

   Upon the news, the pound hit a five-month high upon the U.S. dollar.

   Johnson --- who took office in July vowing Britain would finally leave the 
EU on Oct. 31, come what may --- likened Brexit to climbing Mount Everest.

   He will have to climb some more to get the Northern Ireland's Democratic 
Unionist Party on board. DUP leader Arlene Foster and the party's parliamentary 
chief Nigel Dodds said they "could not support what is being suggested on 
customs and consent issues," referring to a say the Northern Irish authorities 
might have in future developments.

   The party said the position was unchanged after the announcement of the 
provisional deal.

   Both the customs and consent arrangements are key to guaranteeing an open 
border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland --- the main 
obstacle to a Brexit deal.


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