Round-up: international press reporting on the collapse of Brexit deal

Articles reference Theresa May’s ‘stumbling blocks’, ‘torpedoes’ and ‘brutally exposed weaknesses’

The collapse of an apparent agreement on the Irish Border has dominated the news agenda in Ireland, the UK and parts of Europe. Here is a sample of the reporting on the story.

BBC: May under pressure over Irish border

Summary: Brexit talks were scuppered on Monday over what would happen to Northern Ireland and its Border

Theresa May is under pressure to get an agreement from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on the status of the Irish border when the UK leaves the EU.


The prime minister pulled out of a deal with Brussels that would have kick-started trade talks after meeting fierce resistance from the DUP.

The party said it would not accept a deal which saw Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Belfast Telegraph: UK could be set for Brexit without deal after DUP pull the plug

Summary: Senior DUP sources have warned the UK could be heading towards no deal on Brexit after a shambolic day in Brussels

Theresa May pulled out at the last minute from an agreement with the EU after meeting fierce resistance from Arlene Foster’s party.

She will be back in Brussels for further talks later this week but DUP insiders last night said the chances of a deal were diminishing rapidly.

“It’s back to the drawing-board,” a party source said. “Theresa May is caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of what she can do.

Guardian: May's weakness exposed as DUP derails Brexit progress

Summary: Setback for British PM's hopes of agreeing deal to move to next phase of talks as unionists refuse to back Irish border plan

Theresa May’s political weakness was brutally exposed to Brussels on Monday as an agreement struck between Britain and the EU to solve the problem of the Irish border and move to the next phase of Brexit talks was torpedoed by a last-minute telephone call with the leader of the Democratic Unionist party.

Confidence early on Monday that an agreement was within reach came to nothing when, during a working lunch with the European commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, May was forced to pause discussions to take a call from Arlene Foster.

The unionist leader, whose party currently provides the Tories with a working majority in the Commons, told the British prime minister that she could not support Downing Street’s planned commitment to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU laws.

The Times: Time running out for PM, say Brussels officials

Summary: May fights to save Brexit deal after DUP veto

Theresa May was warned last night that she has four days to salvage a Brexit deal or risk delays after the Democratic Unionist Party vetoed it at the eleventh hour.

The prime minister will hold talks with Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, in the next 24 hours in an attempt to ease Unionist concerns that Northern Ireland could have a separate status within Britain under a future deal.

Derry Journal: Arlene Foster says DUP 'will not accept' North separation from UK

Summary: DUP leader, Arlene Foster, has said her party "will not accept any form of regulatory divergence" in Ireland after Brexit.

In a statement given to the media on Monday afternoon and on which no questions were taken, Mrs. Foster also accused the government in Dublin “clearly seeking to unilaterally change the Belfast Agreement without our input or consent”.

The Sun: OUT OF BORDER! PM vows to bag Brexit deal this WEEK despite clashing with DUP over Irish border

Summary: Theresa May failed to come up with a deal after a day of high-level talks in Brussels because Arlene Foster's party refused to accept and sign up to the PM's proposal

After a day of talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, two sticking points remain — how long Euro judges can oversee EU citizens’ rights in the UK, and how to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. To break the deadlock, The Sun has learned Mrs May offered to align rules and regulations with the EU after Brexit not just in Northern Ireland but across the whole of the UK.

The Scotsman: Theresa May scrambling as DUP say deal is a 'unionist nightmare'

Summary: A carefully choreographed bid to clear the deadlock in Brexit talks has collapsed after Theresa May's DUP allies torpedoed a proposed compromise on the Irish border hours before it was due to be announced.

Critics claim the Prime Minister is “threatening the constitutional integrity of the UK” after it emerged the government is ready to agree a text committing to “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, prompting calls for Scotland, Wales and London to stay in the EU single market.

During a meeting in Brussels between Mrs May and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to finalise the deal, a leak of a draft agreement prompted an angry response from the DUP that threw the final stage of divorce talks into disarray. No deal in Brussels after DUP torpedoes Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncher's Northern Ireland agreement

Summary: The DUP said it would block a leaked proposal to solve the Northern Ireland issue.

Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is in disarray after the Irish Prime Minister dramatically accused her of reneging on an agreement that would have ended the deadlock in the talks.

On a day of drama, the Prime Minister pulled the plug on a deal on the Irish border after it was rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party which props her up in power - triggering claims she is being “held to ransom”.

The embarrassment left Ms May scrambling to arrange crisis talks with the DUP before she heads back to Brussels later this week, with the clock ticking on the negotiations.

The Mirror: No deal: Theresa May's desperate bid to break Brexit deadlock dramatically torpedoed by DUP

Summary: The Prime Minister is understood to have yanked a proposed deal from the table after a phone call with DUP leader Arlene Foster

Theresa May's desperate bid to break the Brexit deadlock and move on to trade talks was dramatically torpedoed in an eleventh-hour phone call with the DUP, it emerged today.

After a three-and-a-half hour lunch with negotiators, Mrs May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emerged for an awkward press conference to tell the world agreement had not been reached.

It makes it increasingly unlikely European leaders will give their approval for negotiations to move on to trade and transition talks when they meet in Belgium next week.

Financial Times: Brexit deal falls through over Irish border dispute

Summary: May forced into Brussels reversal after Northern Ireland allies scupper draft pact

A carefully choreographed divorce deal between London and Brussels was derailed at the eleventh hour on Monday after Northern Ireland’s hardline Unionists rejected Theresa May’s agreement to potentially keep the province aligned with EU law after Brexit.

Mrs May, who had travelled to Brussels to finalise the deal with Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, was forced to back away after the Democratic Unionist party objected that it would prevent Northern Ireland from leaving the EU “on the same terms” as the rest of the UK.

The pro-Brexit DUP provides the UK prime minister with her majority in parliament and accused the Irish Republic, which had been engaged in weeks of talks with Mr Juncker and Mrs May to secure Monday’s divorce pact, of improperly meddling in Northern Ireland politics.

Daily Mail: Ten days to save Brexit: Theresa May will spend today desperately trying to persuade DUP and her own Cabinet to resurrect EU deal after Unionists killed plan to sacrifice Northern Ireland with one phone call

Summary: Theresa May has ten days to save Brexit talks after DUP allies blocked plans to resolve the status of Northern Ireland's border with the south.

The Prime Minister had to break off from lunch with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday to field an angry call from DUP leader Arlene Foster who had gone public with her concerns.

Before the lunch, EU diplomats and journalists had been told to expect a 15-page document outlining details of a deal that would clear the way for trade talks to begin this month.

But later in the afternoon Mrs May and Mr Juncker faced the Press in Brussels to announce that discussions on a divorce deal had been abandoned for the day.

Le Monde: Irish question complicates Brexit deal between London and Brussels

Summary:  Theresa May meets on Monday the presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European Council, Donald Tusk.

Six months after the start of the Brexit negotiations, London and Brussels are getting closer to an agreement to finally move on to discussions about their “future relationship”.

In order to finalize the terms of this agreement, British Prime Minister Theresa May was scheduled to meet with Donald Tusk, the President of the Council (the Member States), and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the Commission, in Brussels on Monday 4 December.

The formal passage to the discussion on “future relations” is conditional on the recognition by the Europeans that “sufficient progress” has been made regarding the divorce itself.

The twenty-seven have forced the British to focus on three Brexit “priorities”: the fate of European expatriates settled in the UK after the exit of the European Union (EU), the “bill” of the Brexit (the commitments that London still has to honor after the divorce).

And the fate of Ireland, that the announced exit of the United Kingdom from the single market and the customs union, should affect more than all the other members of the Union. A kingdom in disrepair

Summary: The Ireland problem prevents a Brexit agreement between the EU and the British. And it shows: It is not the EU that suffers a process of decay, but Great Britain.

British Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to make a breakthrough in Brussels. 55 billion euros she had allegedly as an offer in the luggage to settle the divorce bill. That was not far off the scale that the EU demands for parting. There was also movement on the issue of the rights of UK citizens living in the UK. It was said that British courts would in the future transfer certain cases to the European Court of Justice. London would have met two key EU demands.

New York Times: Latest Stumbling Block in Brexit Talks: The Irish Border

Summary: A Northern Irish party backed out of a deal prime minister Theresa May had reached with the EU. The deal was a prerequisite for the next stage of talks.

Britain’s divorce negotiations with the European Union hit a major snag on Monday, when a hard-line Northern Ireland party that is a crucial ally of prime minister Theresa May pulled its support at the last minute from an agreement on the future of the border between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The abrupt decision, which appeared to take Mrs. May by surprise as she held talks in Brussels, derailed a draft deal between Britain and the European Union that is a prerequisite for moving on to the next stage of negotiations.

Washington Post: Future of Irish border remains an obstacle in Brexit talks

Summary: The European Union and Britain ended a flurry of top-level diplomacy on Monday without a deal on the terms of their divorce, as agreement on how to maintain an open Irish border after Brexit slipped out of the negotiators' grasp.

But the two sides said they were within striking distance of consensus, setting up a hectic negotiating rush ahead of an EU summit next week. Member countries must decide whether to broaden the talks to the topic of future relations.

Times of India: Britain and EU fail to reach Brexit deal

Summary: Britain and the EU failed to strike a Brexit divorce deal during talks in Brussels on Monday but said they were "confident" of reaching an accord later this week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker fell short of a breakthrough, despite encouraging progress on the thorny issue of the Irish border.

The EU says Britain must make sufficient progress on key divorce issues- Ireland, Britain’s financial bill for leaving the bloc, and the rights of EU nationals in Britain- to allow the opening of trade and transition talks at a summit on December 15th.