French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s prime minister Paolo Gentiloni at the informal meeting of the 27 EU heads of state  in Brussels on Friday. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Patrick Smyth: Officials insist no sign of divisions opening up in ranks of the EU27

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker:  the budget discussion was “less conflictual” than expected. Photograph: Patrick Seeger

Upbeat summit talks revolve around Brexit deficit of €7bn, border controls and migrants

European Council president Donald Tusk: said British Brexit proposals for “managed divergence” from EU regulations along with preferential access to EU markets show that Boris Johnson’s “cake philosophy” lives on. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar says Ireland will pay more but will not sign up to common corporation tax base

Burkina Faso’s president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Chad’s president Idriss Deby, King Philippe of Belgium and Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita during an audience between the Belgian king and the heads of state of the G5 Sahel organisation at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Taoiseach among 24 EU chiefs to commit €50m to battle poverty, terror in Sahel G5

Martin Selmayr: the European Commission’s new secretary general claimed recently to have 5m of books on Ireland on his shelves.  Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Martin Selmayr replaced as president’s chief of staff by Clara Martinez Alberola

Britain’s Brexit secretary  David Davis   after his meeting with the Greek  minister for foreign affairs in Athens on Wednesday. Photograph:  Louisa  Gouliamaki/Getty Images

Analysis: London and EU negotiators believe agreement on transition text straightforward

Central Bank governor Philip Lane welcomed the opportunity to participate in the process to recruit the ECB vice-president. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister says he made decision in interests of consensus for ECB vice-president role

A sign, erected by Border Communities Against Brexit, outside Newry, Co Down. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The UK is showing signs of buyer’s remorse over what it agreed to in December

Spain’s economy minister, Luis de Guindos: The Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera reported on Sunday that Rome will oppose his nomination for the next vice-president of the ECB

Spain’s economy minister Luis de Guindos is running against Central Bank governor Philip Lane

Silvio Berlusconi: Despite his political departure in 2011 following a sex scandal and fraud conviction, he has re-emerged as “Italy’s kindly granddad”. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

A plethora of rising political parties will contest Italy’s election on March 4th

Philip Lane, governor of the Central Bank. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Majority of MEPs considered Lane’s performance ‘more convincing’ than Spanish rival

Central Bank of Ireland governor  Philip Lane: if he wins, it will be the first time Ireland is represented on the ECB’s executive board. Photograph:

Central Bank governor’s rival, Spanish economy minster Luis de Guindos, also grilled

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Council president Donald Tusk: Mr Erdogan’s authoritarian methods have been a convenient excuse for long-fingering EU accession discussions. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet

Europe Letter: Brexit negotiators are keeping sharp eye on Ankara’s travails outside EU

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker  and EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger during  a joint press conference  in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Getty Images

Commission recommending a review of funding sources for the EU

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaking to reporters on Friday. Photograph: Reuters

Barnier warns agreement on transition is far from ‘a given ’

MEPs vote on the future composition of the European Parliament after Brexit in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Europe Letter: Ireland should get two additional seats as a result of UK departure

 Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg vote on the future composition of the parliament after Brexit. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Difficulties in phrasing wording of pledge given by Britain on Irish Border

Continuing reciprocal access to both EU and UK waters is seen as crucial by EU negotiators, who point to the joint management of around 100 shared fish stocks.  Photograph: Annie Sakkab/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Task force outlines huge challenges for ‘future relationship’ talks between UK and EU

EU chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier is set to express Brussels’s frustration at the UK’s inability to make its position clear. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Europe plans strategy as British government rows ahead of May-Barnier meeting

The ECB will examine banks’ ability to absorb financial shocks. Photograph: EPA

Irish banks among 37 institutions to be scrutinised

Forza Italia party leader and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi: clearly running the party’s show. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/EPA

Europe Letter: Eurosceptical forces in Rome will undermine Franco-German partnership

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission’s senior economic vice-president is visiting Dublin to meet Ministers

Valdis Dombrovskis says it is acknowledged Ireland will be EU state most affected

Brexit negotiator: the UK “is leaving the EU. That is its choice. There are consequences,” Michel Barnier said. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

David Davis had insisted UK would want say in EU laws passed as it left bloc

European commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan: strongly resisting higher figure being negotiated between EU and Mercosur. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Deal will see beef access for Latin American countries raised to 100,000 tonnes a year

UK Brexit secretary David Davis: he has suggested that although the UK will not be inside formal decision-making, “we will still make our voice heard...”  Photograph:  Ian Forsyth/PA Wire

Commission hosting seminars on members' priorities for future relationship with UK

Britain’s secretary of state for Brexit  David Davis takes a trip along the River Tees after delivering a speech outlining the UK’s ambitions for an implementation period after Brexit,  in Teesside, northwest England, today. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/AFP/Getty Images

Poll shows surge in numbers who would like second referendum once deal is done

The report highlighted the low level of unemployment assistance for persons aged 25 years or below, which is currently €100. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Council of Europe report criticises Ireland’s health, social security and social protection

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour: Brussels has huge affection and gratitude for the British

Europe Letter: Belgians see Brexit Britain as inexplicably turning its back on its friends

 Protesters in front of parliament in Bucharest. Thousands gathered to protest against the changes to the judiciary system pushed in parliament by the leftist ruling party Social Democracy Party. Photograph: Robert Ghement

Rule of law an issue as legal changes raise fears about Bucharest’s stance on corruption

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar debates  at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. File photograph: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

MEPs back proposals to redistribute the UK’s seats following its exit from the bloc

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said it was crucial to prioritise achievable elements of banking union.

Finance ministers see tax haven blacklist producing dividends

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas deplored threats by the US administration to cut funding to the United Nations’ Palestinian relief agency, UNRWA. Photograph: Alaa Badarneh/EPA

Recognition would not conflict with pursuit of talks, Abbas tells EU foreign ministers

Facebook: the social-media company, where almost half of the illegal content was to be found, reviewed complaints in less than 24 hours in 89.3 per cent of cases. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft removing 70% of illegal content

‘A blanket ban on foreign funding can never be human rights compliant,’ said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Amnesty International in Ireland welcomes findings after it refused to repay funding

The level of “non-performing loans” in Ireland continues to decline significantly, falling by close to 20 per cent in the year to June 2017, according to a Commission report published on Thursday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Problem loans fell 20% in year to June with two-thirds of €34bn outstanding relating to mortgages

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: Both sides are agreed about the basic shape of transition. Photograph: Getty Images

Europe Letter: EU states want to know what a continuation of the status quo would mean

 EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before a debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Leo Varadkar looks to build new alliances in post-Brexit world with well-received speech

In a speech in Strasbourg, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  said the EU was “the outcome of one of the greatest acts of political creativity in all of human history”. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters.

Taoiseach tells MEPs he is grateful for support given to Ireland on post-Brexit Border

European Council president Donald Tusk speaks during a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg,  on Tuesday. Photograph:  AFP

Tusk and Juncker say door to EU remains open if Britain changes its mind about leaving

Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Union’s poorest state nation to extend possibility of EU accession for six Balkans states

Tough job: EU Commissioner for budget Günther Oettinger. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

How do you fashion unanimity out of profoundly different interests?

Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban. Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

Commission argues 13 laws passed by Poland have undermined judicial independence

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Photograph: Bart Maat/EPA

EU’s chief negotiator admits his frustration on not knowing what UK actually wants

The marina in the Slovenian  town of Piran: there was a bitter 26-year-old territorial dispute involving principally 7.3sq m of maritime territory in the  bay. Photograph: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Inevitably, European Union states have brought with them historical baggage

 German chancellor and leader of the German Christian Democrats Angela Merkel with Horst Seehofer, governor of Bavaria and leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Unio. Photograph: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

From Trump to tragedy, Kim Jong-un to a royal wedding, a compelling roundup from an at times incredible year

A remarkable feature of the phase one Brexit discussions was the manner in which the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, skilfully ensured that the 27 remaining states maintained a cohesion and unity of purpose. Photograph: Getty Images

Continuation of phase-two talks hinges on honouring stage-one pledges

Prime minister of Belgium Charles Michel: “Solidarity cannot be unilaterally applied.” Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty

Brussels discussion included migration, Pesco, banking union and Jerusalem

European Union leaders gather at the start of a meeting with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. Photograph: Getty Images

Parameters of an agreement are outlined on the two-year transition for the UK departure

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May arrives for an  EU summit in Brussels, where EU leaders are to agree formally that sufficient progress has been made to move to next phase of talks. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Phase two talks will only begin when phase one commitments are made legal

Donald Tusk: he has attempted to synopsise real differences among leaders so that debates can focus on how to bridge such differences. Photograph: Getty Images

Tusk has tried to reform the way in which leaders approach crucial issues at summits

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg arriving at the  EU summit  in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

Importance of strengthening defence and security structures on agenda

An anti-Brexit protester stands outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

Europe Letter: UK discourse on leaving EU is a mess of contradictory decisions

 Sharp differences are likely to re-emerge over EU migration policy in a debate proposed by European Council president Donald Tusk, whose letter to leaders setting out the agenda has prompted serious recriminations. File photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo

Brussels summit: Consensus on Brexit but differences likely again over migration policy

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier:  “There’s a determination that what has been agreed in phase one would be properly protected and seen through,” said Mr Coveney. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

EU ministers back proposals to prevent ‘backsliding’ on Border commitments

Brexit: Michael Barnier’s task force warned that many UK commitments “will need to be translated into workable, practical solutions”  Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Barnier task force suggests plan to leave single market makes alignment difficult

Brexit negotiations are now expected to advance to the next stage which focuses on the transition period after Brexit takes effect in March 2019 and on the future EU-UK relationship. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland gets commitment there will be no hard border even if UK leaves EU without deal

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May is welcomed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

UK and EU reach agreement on citizens’ rights, divorce bill and Irish Border

If it proves impossible to secure  a comprehensive trade deal then the UK has promised  it will maintain  regulatory alignment between North and South in areas crucial to preserving North South co-operation and linked to the Good Friday agreement. Photograph: PA

Analysis: Aspirational deal represents a softening of the Irish Government position

 Britain’s secretary of state for Brexit  David Davis (left), Britain’s prime minister Theresa May (second left), European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (second right)and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (right) meet at the European Commission in Brussels, on Friday morning. Photograph: EPA

DUP would have preferred if May did not sign deal, says it won ‘six substantive changes’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar explains a point after a meeting  the prime minister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte in Dublin on Wednesday night. Photograph: EPA

Commission says final deadline is Sunday if EU council is to make decision on next phase

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini: “A negotiated two-state solution is the only realistic way of bringing lasting peace.” Photograph: Ints Kalnins/Reuters

Foreign policy chief urges restraint and emphasises support for two-state solution

The commission’s agenda is seen as ambitious and is thus likely to meet resistance. Photograph: EPA

Proposed reforms part of agenda to be discussed at euro summit next week

The attempt to broker a breakthrough in the Northern Ireland strand may well come to be seen as an important crossroads in the whole Brexit process

Davis is suggesting any UK trade deal with the EU involving ‘regulatory alignment’ will mimic membership

Minister  for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe   with his  Luxembourger counterpart  Pierre Gramegna at  a  meeting of     EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.  Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Further 47 states included on ‘grey’ list after pledging to introduce transparency

From 65, Irish men and women can expect to live only about 60% of their remaining years of life free of disability, an EU report has warned.

EU report finds Irish women continue to have the edge on men by four years

UK prime minister Theresa May and Donald Tusk, president of the European Union,  in Brussels on  December 4th, 2017.  Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Language over which talks stumbled an important shift in UK thinking

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker  at the European Commission in Brussels. Photograph: Getty Images

Juncker says ‘it has not been possible to reach a complete understanding’ with May

The Government has denied favouring Apple and has joined the company in appealing the European Commission ruling.

Tech giant will start paying into escrow account from the first quarter of 2018

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a Brexit press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Agreement between EU and Britain ‘not possible today’ as DUP objects

The EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier:  the three priority issues are citizens rights, the financial settlement, and the Irish Border. Photograph: AFP/ Tobias Schwarz/Getty Images

Any slippage in a new UK offer beyond Monday makes the timeframe almost impossible

More than one British academic has been suggesting  that the pressure from our EU partners to ease our position on the Border will be irresistible

Border row seen by many EU states as emblematic of UK’s wish to ‘have its cake and eat it’

Ireland’s EU commissioner Phil Hogan. He never said “veto”. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Talk of ‘veto threats’ is just smoke and mirrors

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Taoiseach of refusing to engage with him in recent days on Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s position. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Fianna Fáil leader says his ‘patience has been stretched’ as general election looms

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar poses with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of a EU leaders summit in Brussels last June. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Vote will not halt Brexit process but could undermine ‘love-bombing’ at leadership level

Among other feedback to Dublin, the report reveals that, to his hosts’ surprise, at a meeting between Britain’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, and two French ministers, Mr Davis barely mentioned Brexit. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

RTÉ report on memo cites alarm over ‘chaos in the Conservative government’

To raise taxes, or not to raise taxes, that is the question our chancellor faces as he/she make crucial choices. A power plant? A road? A new hotel? Photograph: AP Photo

Europe Letter: It’s official, my tax policies could make a struggling state flourish again

Louise O’Keeffe, who joined the Brussels delegation, said the Irish State’s “very narrow” interpretation of the 2014 ECHR ruling insisted any complaint now by others could only be based “on a prior complaint”. File photograph: Garrett White/Collins Court

Survivors gather in Brussels to address committee of European Parliament

Pierre Moscovici said a number of member states still have high levels of public debt that limit their ability to invest. Photograph: AFP

Review finds that Republic is ‘broadly compliant’ with European Union rules

Dublin ran Paris to the last count for the European Banking Agency, beaten on what Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney described as a “technicality”.

Dublin and Milan lose in drawing of lots for hosting of banking and medicines agencies

Dublin lost out to Paris (above) as the new HQ of the European Banking Authority. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Ireland comes close to remarkable diplomatic coup in securing major EU authority

A laptop displays a map of candidate city locations for the relocation of the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency

Dublin loses out against Paris in a drawing of lots for relocation of EBA after Brexit

EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaking  in Brussels  on Monday. Photograph: AFP/John Thysjohn/AFP/Getty

Onus on UK to ‘come forward with proposals’ to avoid hard border

Ireland this morning withdrew its bid to host the European Medicines Agency in a tactical move to help it win the smaller European Banking Agency. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland withdraws its bid to concentrate instead on the European Banking Agency

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he would like a new technological university to play a part in the French president’s proposal. File photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

Emmanuel Macron aims to create networks where students could move between institutes

Brexit deadlock: Leo Varadkar in Gothenburg on Friday. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty

UK stance forcing Ireland and EU to set own red lines, Taoiseach tells British PM

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during the European Social Summit in Gothenburg. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Nonbinding ‘pillar’ an attempt to restore the faith of European citizens in the union

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar arrives at  the European Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden on Friday. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

Taoiseach says pledge made on issue 18 months ago and must be nailed down before trade is discussed

Barry Walsh is the vice chairman of the Fine Gael executive council.

Party member ‘deeply regrets tone and language’ in some Tweets and apologises

Report uses 38 indicators to assess factors such as poverty, education and discrimination

Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with the help of volunteers, gives food to a homeless man living in the streets of Lisbon, Portugal, this week. Photograph:José Sena Goulao/EPA

Some 117.5m people in EU at risk of poverty

Reporting from Brussels on Brexit, I find myself turning increasingly for understanding of the British position to “Alice in Wonderland”. Photograph: Getty Images

Brexit talks fast-reaching ‘Alice in Wonderland status’

Only 80% of the working-age population have attained at least an upper secondary education, a share that has significantly increased since 2007.

New report criticises low levels of funding and class bias in ‘two-tier’ secondary system

The scheme allows the State to provide aid for transferring the assets and liabilities of a failing credit union to an acquirer. Photograph: Collins

Process aimed at safeguarding financial stability in event of difficulties

Sara Gibadlo (left,19) of Oranmore, Co Galway, and Dace Zarina (22), from Co Longford, who died in a fire at a residence linked to a college in Leuven, Belgium.

Dace Zarina (22) and Sara Gibadlo (19) died in a house fire in Belgium in 2014

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney shakes hands with Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson following a European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Simon Coveney says a move to participate in Pesco would not undermine neutrality

EU special representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini. Photograph: Epa/Julien Warnand

Event in Ivory Coast not just about stemming migration, EU Foreign Affairs Council hears

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney meets Britain’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Border will remain central issue, Minister for Foreign Affairs says

David Davis, Britain’s Brexit minister:  A European Commission paper suggested that it seems ‘essential for the UK to commit to ensuring that a hard border on the island of Ireland is avoided’. Photograph: AFP/ Getty Images

The hiccup in the talks this week is largely the product of an attempt by London to ‘park’ the frictionless border

Brexit negotiators Michel Barnier (EU) and David Davis (Britain): serious differences remain. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

UK failure to meet deadline would push decision on phase two talks back to March 2018

European commissioner Margrethe Vestager agreed the establishment of a working group with Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Getty

Any assistance would need to comply with state aid rules

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