British prime minister Boris Johnson, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen and German chancellor Angela Merkel at the  European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

British PM scrambling for MPs’ support ahead of Westminster vote on Saturday

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and president of the European Council Donald Tusk during a press conference at the Brexit summit in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Next commission president Ursula von der Leyen circumspect on Commons approval

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the European Council summit in Brussels. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

To the fury of the UK, negotiations were never going to be ‘you give a bit, I’ll give a bit’

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Analysis: Ratification will take time, as EU states consider the agreement’s legal text

British prime minister Boris Johnson hopes to put the new deal before the House of Commons at a special sitting on Saturday. Photograph: Getty

Questions raised over whether Boris Johnson will sign up to new deal amid consent worries

As Brexit talks continued ambassadors were briefed separately by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Photograph: Getty

Expectation is that Donald Tusk will argue a deal only discussable in general terms

DUP leader Arlene Foster. File photograph:  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Varadkar says progress made but ‘unclear’ if deal will be struck tonight

High representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini: warned Turkey “any kind of demographic engineering in the region would be particularly dangerous”. Photograph: Julien Warnand

Sanctions and embargoes against Ankara in prospect as Syrian peace ‘far more difficult’

EU-27 ambassadors were  briefed by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on the talks that have continued over the weekend in a restricted secret session. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Boris Johnson tells his cabinet there is still a ‘significant amount of work’ to do

DUP leader Arlene Foster. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty

Party’s objections to ‘double customs’ idea presents hurdle to Boris Johnson

Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Tel Abyad. The military action is part of a campaign to extend Turkish control of more of northern Syria, a large swath of which is currently held by Syrian Kurds, whom Turkey regards as a threat. Photograph: Burak Kara/Getty Images

European Union fears impact of Turkish action on war against Isis, but is unlikely to act

EU Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Barnier and UK counterpart agree to intensification the discussions

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier arrives at the EU headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty

Both EU and UK remaining tight-lipped about content of new British proposals

UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is welcomed by EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP Pool.

Donald Tusk says hopes of agreement have risen but that positive signs can be ‘political tricks’

Sylvie Goulard is being investigated by the EU anti-fraud unit Olaf. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Sylvie Goulard in part a victim of proxy war between parliament and EU leaders

Seán Kelly, MEP:  ‘Brexit changed the attitude and culture in Ireland around the issue. People are now talking about a united Ireland that were never considering it five years ago.’ Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Brexit changed attitude and culture in Ireland around issue, says Sean Kelly MEP

Civilians flee amid Turkish bombardment of Syria’s northeastern town of Ras al-Ayn along the Turkish border on Wednesday. Photograph:  Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

EU criticises Ankara incursion in wake of US exit and fears refugees may again take flight

The protection of the single market and the guaranteeing of animal-food health standards are simply too important to be left to the fantasies of a state that has dodgy form on customs. Photograph: Jorge Guerrero/Getty

Europe Letter: Pro-light touch UK ignored undervaluation of Chinese imports

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, beside Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph:  Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Barnier insists that ‘if there is goodwill on both sides an accord is still possible’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘I don’t play dirty, and I don’t think most EU leaders do either.’ Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Language ‘from some quarters’ toxic, says Taoiseach, as Downing Street spins

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, ahead of talks at the European Commission. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Tánaiste bucks pessimistic trend but accepts ‘real gaps’ exist on customs and consent

Commission officials have  warned there is an effective deadline of this Friday for any proposals that may be put to the EU summit  the following Thursday.  Photograph: PA

Analysis: Brussels shows willingness to talk but will not take the blame if there is no progress

A European Commission source said the talks, with Brexit adviser David Frost (above), will continue on Monday. Photograph: AP

EU declines to continue discussions with Johnson’s chief negotiator over weekend

 European Council president  Donald Tusk: the EU remains “open but still unconvinced” by the UK plans. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

Council president ‘unconvinced’ as parliament group says proposed deal not ‘remotely’ acceptable

 Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson attends the final day of the annual Conservative Party conference. Photograph: Oli Scarff / AFP

Government and EU to engage with UK on backstop proposals

In his closing speech to the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Boris Johnson described his proposal as a compromise for both sides that respects the Belfast Agreement.

Government and EU to engage with UK on backstop proposals

Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean in the city of Khoms, around 120 kilometres  east of Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday. Photograph: Hazem Ahmed/AP

Europe Letter: Franco-German initiative hopes to persuade states to share burden

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (left) greets EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: AP

Relief that Boris Johnson appears to pull back from ‘take it or leave it’ Brexit approach

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  in Brussels on Wednesday. The EU has been insistent all along that there can be no question of agreeing to the withdrawal agreement in parts. Photograph:  Francisco Seco/AP

Insistence that all of UK leaves customs union is key break from withdrawal agreement

 Britain’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay (left)  meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. Photograph:  EPA/Johanna Geron

Barnier claims the British government wants ‘a regulatory and customs land border on the island of Ireland’

EU commissioner for trade Phil Hogan arrives for his hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday. Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Incoming EU commissioner says climate concerns ‘must be firmly built into our trade agenda’

‘The more regulatory divergence there is between the two parts of Ireland, the more border controls or other barriers there will have to be,’ said former taoiseach John Bruton. File image: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Former taoiseach says peace agreement ‘is all about convergence’, not divergence

British prime minster Boris Johnson at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

British government expected to present detailed proposal to the EU within days

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney  and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission in Brussels. Photograph: AFP

Leo Varadkar ‘not particularly optimistic’ of receiving written submission before summit

 EU Commission president-designate Ursula von der Leyen. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Decision represents a setback for incoming commission president Von der Leyen

UK prime minister Boris Johnson gesturing while answering questions on the proroguing of parliament in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty Images

Some of the worst moments from one of angriest days in British parliament in memory

Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, gestures to an empty podium as he speaks to the press after Boris Johnson  ducked out of a planned news conference pn September 16th. Photograph: Kilian Fichou/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: To the British, last week’s podium moment was a humiliation – but they misread the signals

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, reiterated gloomily that there is “no reason today for optimism” in the Brexit talks. Photograph: Michael Sohn/AP Photo

Third extension likely to be granted by council if requested, despite reservations

Britain’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay in Brussels on Friday. “We are moving forward with momentum,” he told Sky News.  Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard/EPA

Technical ‘non-papers’ with new UK proposals a rehash of old ideas, sources say

Incoming  EU commissioner for trade  Phil Hogan: argues that the Mercosur treaty will be the first real leverage the EU has on Brazil’s government over its policies in the Amazon. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Amazon forest will be at centre of long and bruising battle on trade deal’s ratification

Laura Codruta Kovesi: During her five years as head of the Romanian Anti-Corruption Directorate she put 68 high-level functionaries on trial. Photograph: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty

Nomination of Laura Codruta Kovesi was contested by the socialist-led government

The UK’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay at a breakfast briefing in Madrid on Thursday. He insisted that that “the alternative to the backstop is not necessary until the end of the implementation period in December 2020”. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay also warns of impact of no-deal on Ireland

 President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen: has displayed a deft tough, but the name of her new migration brief appears bizarre. Photograph:  Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Name of migration portfolio appears a misstep for Ursula von der Leyen

Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the plenary of the European Parliament on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU during Brexit  debate  at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/PA

UK opposition MEPs strongly appeal for Brexit extension amid backing for Ireland

Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel gestures during a news conference after his meeting with British prime minister Boris Johnson in Luxembourg. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

British prime minister takes a pass at the Duchy after being smoked out by protesters

Protestors hold signs as British prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker have a working lunch. Photograph: Joshua Sammer/Getty Images

PM skips Luxembourg press conference as host rounds on Britain for ‘nightmare’

Continuing technical discussions  involving Boris  Johnson’s chief negotiator, David Frost, focused on just one aspect of the Northern Ireland Border problem, food and animal movement controls. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool /Getty Images

Meeting seen as unlikely to produce substantive movement on Brexit

Apple Sales International paid less than €10 million of corporate tax in Ireland in 2011.

Case is of massive significance for Ireland and for the policing of state aid by the European Commission

DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader  Nigel Dodds. Foster said any solution for the Border, notably the backstop which she opposes, must command the support of both communities in the North. Photograph: by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Assembly’s petition of concern could offer model for post-Brexit dealings

EU trade commissioner nominee  Phil Hogan:  Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

EU trade commissioner nominee believes probability of deal is rising

European Commission president German Ursula von der Leyen gestures as she gives a press conference to announce the names of the new European commissioners. Photograph: Kenzo tribouillard / AFP/Getty Images

Hogan will be tough and very fair crafting future trade deal with UK, Ursula von der Leyen says

Incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen  with outgoing president Jean-Claude Juncker prior to a lunch meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Virginia Mayo

Renominated commissioners include Phil Hogan and his expectation of trade portfolio

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. File potograph: Alan Betson

Tánaiste has yet to see evidence of viable alternative to Northern Ireland backstop

The UK’s Brexit adviser David Frost, right, and British ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow leave EU headquarters after a meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

EU adamant backstop cannot be dismantled and applied piecemeal, sector by sector

British prime minister Boris Johnson stands next to a police horse during a visit to west Yorkshire on Thursday. Photograph:  Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Changes sought to agreement made by Theresa May are of deep concern to Ireland

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

European Commission identifies €600m in ‘disaster’ funding to help affected businesses

 A sign on the Northern Irish side of the River Finn in Strabane: The Government and the European Commission have insisted that any proposals they have seen are either completely inadequate and insufficiently secure or technologically unproven. Photograph:   Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Paper shows that technological and administrative fixes are insufficient

Chief EU negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier: UK will find it difficult to come up with a formulation that will meet his red lines. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand

Olive branch suggestions by Johnson seen as blame game strategy of cynical PM

French president Emmanuel Macron and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Tuesday. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Brussels offers to talk but indicates unwillingness to revisit withdrawal agreement

Tánaiste  Simon Coveney: “There are other things that can change and be adapted, particularly the future relationship document but the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation.”   Photograph: Henry Nicholls

Tánaiste stresses withdrawal agreement ‘not up for renegotiation’

Tanaiste  Simon Coveney was less than emphatic in response to a question about the necessity under EU rules for controls on animal-based food imports on the Border, ‘at the point of entry.  Photograph: Henry Nicholls/File Photo/Reuters

Tánaiste says he had been reassured by his meeting with Michel Barnier

Clare Daly has defended hiring the son of her political colleague Mick Wallace as a European Parliament assistant. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Clare Daly has defended hiring son of Mick Wallace as a European Parliament assistant

Minister for EU Affairs Helen McEntee: has welcomed the Finnish prioritisation of rule of law in its presidency. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Move aims to complement article 7 as lever against Hungary and Poland interference

Boris Johnson holds a kipper in the air to make a false claim about EU regulations during a speech at the final Conservative Party leadership hustings, in London on Wednesday.  Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Tory leadership candidate wrongly blames Brussels for packaging costs imposed on producers

Newly elected MEP Clare Daly has hired the son of her political colleague Mick Wallace as her European Parliament assistant. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Since 2009, MEPs can no longer employ close relatives for parliamentary roles

Newly elected European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen: spoke of her desire to “move towards full co-decision power for the European Parliament and away from unanimity for climate, energy, social and taxation policies”. Photograph:  Frederick Florin

Europe Letter: European Commission president hopes to give MEPs new powers

Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the European Parliament voted in favour of her as the new European Commission president. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Ursula von der Leyen in combative form as she appealed to MEPs to back her agenda

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has been elected European Commission president by 383 votes, with 327 voting against. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

German conservative – who supports Brexit extension – wins by narrow margin

(L-R) Foreign ministers of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, Belgium, Didier Reynders, Poland, Jacek Czaputowicz and Hungary, Peter Szijjarto,  in Brussels, July 15th. Photograph: Reuters/Johanna Geron

Ministers also back new sanctions against Turkey over illegal oil drilling off Cyprus

Ursula von der Leyen promises much more intensive dialogue with MEPs. Photograph: Getty

European Commission president-designate on charm offensive in bid to secure top post

European Commission president-designate Ursula von der Leyen considers the proposed EU-UK withdrawal agreement a good deal “that we need to stick to without any question”. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty

Top EU nominee repeats strong support for Border backstop as ‘absolutely necessary’

Almost 3,000 missiles with nuclear and conventional warheads were removed from European soil and verifiably destroyed under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. File photograph: Getty

‘Given the heightened tensions, we must be careful not to enter path of a new arms race’

  Ursula von der Leyen needs 375 votes for a majority in parliament, but is widely expected to get that. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Europe Letter: European Commission president-in-waiting sees no change in policy on backstop

A European Commission report says that growth in the euro zone exceeded expectations in the first quarter of the year. Photograph: iStock

If Brexit or tax reform don’t undermine growth, economy is at risk of overheating

Besides agriculture, Phil Hogan has been an influential figure within the commission in articulating Ireland’s case on Brexit. Photograph: Ray Ryan

Outcome of budget negotiations is most substantial legacy of Kilkenny man’s first term as agriculture commissioner

A woman  at the detention centre for mainly African migrants that was hit by an air strike in the Tajoura suburb of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Photograph: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Analysis: There was a dreadful inevitability to the bombing of the Tajoura migrant detention centre that killed more than 55 this (...)

The chief rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, left, prays during the ceremonies of the 73rd anniversary of the Kielce Pogrom in Kielce, Poland. Photograph: Piotr Polak/Poland Out/EPA

EU not effective in combatting anti-Semitism, say majority surveyed by bloc

European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans addresses a news conference  in Brussels, Belgium, in February  2018. File photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Europe Letter: Visegrád Group’s victory in the top jobs race is mainly symbolic

Italian MEP David-Maria Sassoli, after being elected president of the European Parliament  in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Former journalist David-Maria Sassoli completes key element of EU ‘top jobs’ deal

Ursula von der Leyen: was once considered a potential reserve chancellor. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Germany’s defence minister advanced as next European Commission president.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel: at heart of surprise nomination of Ursula von der Leyen.  Photograph: Dominique Jacovides

German defence minister’s nomination by Macron breaks deadlock over top EU jobs

Belgium prime minister Charles Michel at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters/ Piroschka van de Wouw

Son of former European Commissioner, Michel is seen as cool-headed and an effective conciliator

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives on Sunday for a European Council summit on filling the top EU institution jobs, in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Johanna Geron/Reuters

EU Council meeting to extend into unprecedented third day after efforts to broker deal

European Council president Donald Tusk and Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas attend a roundtable at the council’s summit  in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/Pool via Reuters

Donald Tusk to put forward new compromise list of possible nominations

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was “evident” the deal would be bad for the beef sector. Photograph: Getty Images

Strong backlash from farmers concerned about potential European beef import surge

Likelihood of rapid accord disappears as EPP sinks deal on commission president

Finland’s prime minister Antti Rinne:  “The rules-based international order is an existential question for us.” Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq

Helsinki’s third term at helm of EU likely to have implications for Poland and Hungary

People hold the Polish constitution during a demonstration against the politicisation of the supreme court by the Polish government. Photograph:  Attila Husejnow/Sopa Images/LightRocket

Europe Letter: Ruling on Polish state interference a reminder of EU principles and law

Boris Johnson,  leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Party, arrives for a walkabout at Wisley Garden Centre in Surrey, on Tuesday. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Most of possible PM’s proposed Brexit ‘solution’ is old wine in not very new bottles

This year’s elections have led to a three-way split in the European Parliament, with none of the “spitzenkandidat” able to achieve a parliamentary majority. File photograph: Getty

Europe Editor Patrick Smyth sets the scene and looks at the runners and riders

  European Council president Donald Tusk (left) and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker:  business ended on Friday with  a brief Brexit discussion. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet

Spitzenkandidat system dead as member states agree to reconvene on June 30th

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) speaks to  European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier   on the sidelines of the EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: EPA

EU leaders to meet again on June 30th to seek agreement on who should get top jobs

 Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte at the start of the  European Council summit in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Every time the positions are to be allocated, politicians raise the credentials

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the  summit in Brussels on June 20th, 2019. Photograph: Olivier Matthys

Too many differences make agreements elusive at Brussels summit

Culloville Village crossroads: The UK document specifies 142 areas of joint North-South co-operation, from congenital heart disease to alcohol misuse. Photograph: Alan Betson

UK’s report on 2017 scoping exercise sets out 142 areas of cross-Border co-operation

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani: has defended the importance of the public accountability involved in the spitzenkandidat system. Photograph: Julien Warnand/Reuters

Little confidence at agreement on selection amid clear blocking minorities

The European Commission has strongly emphasised the need to preserve a frictionless Border in Ireland if longstanding and extensive North-South cooperation is to be sustained.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Report on EU-UK ‘mapping exercise’ notes 147 cross-Border projects linked to Belfast Agreement

A lorry passes a poster calling for “No Border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Photograph: Paul Faith/Getty Images

EU Commission mapping paper shows extent of North-South links

 Donald Tusk: “I remain cautiously optimistic as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly.”  Photograph: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

Europe Letter: broad agreement expected at leaders’ summit, yet some issues have the potential to provoke major rows

Michel Barnier, above, has told Brexit secretary Steve Barclay there can be no cherry-picking of the deal. Photograph: Bart Maat/EPA

Barnier warns UK Brexit secretary withdrawal agreement cannot be carved up

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