A lorry passes a poster on Monday in Jonesborough by calling for “No Border” between the Republic and Northern Irelan. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Irish officials say UK cannot walk away from obligations on Border in any circumstances

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has refused to engage with suggestions that an EU task force could be set up to deal with the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Getty Images

Merkel notes difficulties of protecting the Belfast Agreement in a no-deal situation

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council president Donald Tusk and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Photograph: Yves Herman/File Photo/Reuters

Process was extremely political and so necessitated high-level input from the leaders

British prime minister Theresa May ahead of the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

EU leaders agree extension if MPs approve British prime minister’s Brexit deal next week

UK prime minister Theresa May is greeted by president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Any further application by Theresa May for Brexit delay will not be automatically granted

Leaders attend a European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Aris Oikonomou/Pool via Reuters

Should Theresa May get her deal with the EU approved by House of Commons next week, the UK will get until May 22nd to leave bloc

Leaders at the summit will discuss the EU’s most important relationship of the next decade: China. Photograph:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Believe it or not, the two-day summit is not just about Brexit

UK prime minister Theresa May: ‘All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.’ Photograph:  Chris J Ratcliffe/Pool/EPA

PM points finger in TV address after Tusk rules out extension without MPs voting for deal

European Council president Donald Tusk  responded warmly to the letter British prime minister Theresa May sent him on Wednesday seeking an extension to article 50. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Donald Tusk says UK can have short ‘technical’ extension

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and European chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier during a  council on article 50 negotiations   at the European Commission in Brussels. Photograph:  Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Justification for an extension must be linked to a new event or a new political process, says Barnier

Tánaiste Simon Coveney at a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Coveney says time should be used on 'new plan of action' or 'new approach'

House of Commons speaker John Bercow’s application of 1604 law  is “another instance of an internal Westminster issue that we cannot impact”. Photograph: Parliamentary Recording Unit/EPA

Application of ancient Westminster rule a ‘surprise’ which brings further uncertainty

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, with fellow MP Emma Little-Pengelly, after speaking to the media outside the Cabinet Office. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

DUP says talks with UK government are focusing on legal assurances and not cash

Tánaiste Simon Coveney: ‘We have to show some patience and give some space to the British prime minister.’ Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Tánaiste hints May must signal she will reach out to opposition if she wants EU approval

European Council president Donald Tusk with British prime minister Theresa May at EU leaders summit in Brussels last November. File photograph: Olivier Hoslet/Reuters.

Tusk says article 50 extension would only get unanimous support if UK revisits Brexit red lines

A portrait of European Parliament president Antonio Tajani with the slogan “no more facism” on the desk of a Member of the European Parliament during a voting session in Strasbourg on Thursday. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Antonio Tajani’s comments cause further embarrassment to European People’s Party

Carnival parade in the streets of Aalst: the raucous three-day Belgian carnival is  formally recognised by Unesco.  Photograph: Jonas Roossens/AFP/Getty

Europe Letter: Occasional acceptance of the obnoxious is price of satire and free speech

DUP leader Arlene Foster:  “I will be relaying the frustration amongst people . . . about a lack of devolution.  Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Foster to tell US administration that party is working towards a ‘sensible’ Brexit agreement

Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Strasbourg on Wednesday. “The negotiation on article 50 is over. We have a treaty. It is here,” he said. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

MPs will likely vote for an extension on Thursday – but the game has changed in Brussels

Poland’s finance minister Teresa Czerwinska and Czech Republic finance minister Alena Schillerova ahead of the Ecofin meeting. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Ecofin ministers agree to freeze measure, opposed by Ireland, pending OECD-level work

European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker was notably silent on a unilateral declaration by the UK announced as part of the latest Brexit package. Photograp: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images.

Unilateral declaration reprises British theory that Article 50 only a temporary measure

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker during a news conference in Strasbourg on Monday. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Agreement reached after last-minute talks in Strasbourg before Commons vote on Tuesday

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker are pictured during a  news conference in Strasbourg on Monday. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters.

Juncker says there will be no further chances on agreement and Varadkar approves latest offer

 President Emmanuel Macron of France.  He feels any UK extension would have to be conditional on a satisfactory explanation from May  as to what she will do with the extra time. Photograph: Reuters

There are different views about how long any conditional extension might be, with most countries favouring two to three months

British prime minister Theresa May   in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, on Friday, where she urged the European Union to make the concessions needed to persuade MPs to vote for her Brexit deal next Tuesday. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

DUP’s Nigel Dodds says new Barnier offer on Brexit ‘neither realistic nor sensible’

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier sent a series of messages on Twitter following a meeting with ambassadors from 27 EU states. File photograph: Reuters

Chief negotiator offers reassurances to UK about backstop exit mechanisms

 Tom Arnold: he launched  a joint EU-African Union paper on the African rural economy

Commissioner Phil Hogan says rural development is leading the way in EU-Africa political co-operation

EU commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager: a fearless champion of the European Commission’s competition directorate. Photograph: Piotr Nowak

Europe Letter: Derailed merger of Alstom and Siemens sparks call for policy change

British prime minister Theresa May is due to face a “meaningful vote” on Brexit early next week. Its fate is said to hinge on whether the UK attorney general can revise his legal assessment of the backstop

UK attorney general and Brexit secretary return to London after ‘difficult’ discussions with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay leads his team out of his office including Attorney general Geoffrey Cox (centre left) as they leave Downing St in London for Brussels. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Recent talks between UK Brexit secretary and EU chief negotiator fruitless and ‘difficult’

UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay (pictured) and attorney general Geoffrey Cox met the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and members of the Brexit taskforce on Tuesday. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images.

No sign of breakthrough as clock runs down to Theresa May’s ‘meaningful vote’ next week

Viktor Orban has become a stalking horse for Europe’s Eurosceptic populist forces. Photograph: Tamas Kaszas/Reuters

Hungarian PM is seen as having finally overstepped mark with billboard campaign attacking Brussels

Geoffrey Cox outside Downing Street. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Arbitration provisions a major focus of British attorney general’s diplomacy with EU

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán is a vocal supporter of anti-immigrant rhetoric in Europe. File photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Support builds for Fidesz’s expulsion from the European People’s Party

Central Bank governor Philip Lane was questioned on Tuesday in Brussels by the parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, which voted 33-6 in his favour.

Central Bank governor says ECB’s monetary strategy can cope with economic challenges

Cattle grazing in Co Galway. Changes to state aid rules means member states can move more quickly to help farmers in crisis. Photograph: Getty.

Maximum aid that can be distributed per farm over three years to rise to €25,000

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

A broad, unstated EU consensus sees Labour’s plans as the only pathway to a deal

 European Parliament: Due to Brexit, the seat allocation to Ireland rises from 11 to 13. Photograph: Vincent Kessler

Europe Letter: Fianna Fáil likely to be big winners in European poll in May

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

British PM and EU Commission president hold crunch meeting in Brussels on Brexit

UK prime minister Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/ Bloomberg

Statement reconfirmed their commitment to avoiding a hard border in Ireland

A protest at the   Kleine Brogel nuclear base in Belgium in 2006. Photograph:  Yorick Jansens/AFP/Getty Images)

Three MEPs among activists who broke into Kleine Brogel air base and unfurled banner

 The delegates with Tánaiste Simon Coveney. They paid a visit to President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday evening, and were then greeted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House

Talks included foreign ministers and others including League of Arab States’ secretary general

Eamon Gilmore’s appointment is expected to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers in the next few days. Photograph: Frank Miller

Ex-tánaiste’s appointment comes after Lane nominated for chief economist role with ECB

 Stephen Barclay: Britain’s Brexit secretary  will resume his discussions with EU officials in Brussels.  Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

British representatives’ focus on provision may cause a no-deal Brexit, EU officials fear

 Simon Coveney  and Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi during a European Foreign Affairs Council meeting, in Brussels on Monday. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Tánaiste says proposals would have to come from London rather than Brussels

 Simon Coveney is hosting a dinner on Monday and a meeting on Tuesday in Farmleigh. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘Confidential discussion’ seen as way to engage with Palestinians ahead of new US initiative

Ms de Souza insists that she has never been British, a status that she can therefore not reject. Above, Emma DeSouza and her husband, Jake. Photograph: Emma DeSouza

Emma de Souza’s court battle exposes what she sees as a flaw in Withdrawal Agreement

The legislation is designed to help artists, publishers and other creators to get fair payment for use of their content online. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Europe’s publishers hail compromise copyright legislation ‘fit for the digital age’

Simon Coveney: he has  argued against unilateral action by Ireland as both ineffective in bringing about change and likely to put Ireland out of step with its EU partners

Europe Letter: Bid to ban imports from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank has bumped up against diplomatic imperatives

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici presents the EU executive's economic forecasts during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 7, 2019.  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

EU commissioner says State among handful of countries blocking initiative

The European Commission has extended safety certification on the Channel Tunnel for three months from the end of March. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission preparedness planning sees safety certification extended for three months

German chancellor Angela Merkel and finance minister Olaf Scholz. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

European Commission desire to phase in qualified majority voting faces uphill battle

The UK Brexit secretary  Stephen Barclay and the chief European Union negotiator Michel Barnier met for dinner in Brussels on Monday night. File image: Andy Rain/EPA.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay to meet again in coming days

Philip Lane’s ECB appointment will mark the first time Ireland will be represented on the bank’s six-member executive board.

Governor of Central Bank to become chief economist

Britain’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay leaves 10 Downing Street in London. Mr Barclay is due to meet Michel Barnier on Monday. File photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

EU to remain resolute on the backstop as Conservatives extend olive branch to Corbyn

 EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Europe Letter: Latest bid to break backstop deadlock amounts to a storm in a teacup

European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels on Wednesday. He angered UK Brexiteers when he said he had been “wondering what that place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan for how to carry it out safely”. Photograph:  Yves Herman/Reuters

EU Council president is less inhibited than others in Brussels – and he wanted to send a message

European Council president Donald Tusk and Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar shake hands  after a meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters.

We will not gamble on peace or put a sell-by date on reconciliation says, Tusk

Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers arrive at the cabinet office in Westminster for a meeting of the Alternative Arrangements Working Group to examine the Malthouse compromise. Photograph:  Stefan Rousseau/PA

PM persisting in backstop alternative quest while seeking to restore Stormont

Palestinian authority foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki and Tánaiste Simon Coveney during the EU/Arab League meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Minister stresses Ireland and EU want to provide ‘reassurances’ to aid approval of deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “There are definitely options for preserving the integrity of the single market even when Northern Ireland isn’t part of it because it is part of Britain while at the same time meeting the desire to have, if possible, no border controls”. Photograph:  Toshifumi Kitamura/Pool Photo via AP

David Trimble plans to take UK government to court over backstop agreement

Chavistas participate  in an event to support President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela on Monday. Photograph:  Cristian Hernandez/EPA

Spain, France, Germany and UK raise pressure on Maduro as Ireland declines to follow

 President Donald Trump: The EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency reject his claims  Iran has continued its nuclear weapons research. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP

Washington sparks fears with Iran trade sanctions and nuclear arms race moves

European commissioner Vera Jourova said people obtaining EU nationality should need to have a genuine connection to the member state. Photograph: Reuters

Move comes amid concerns over tax evasion and money laundering

Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz:  had suggested   a five-year time limit on the backstop  as a compromise. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Europe Letter: Poland and US deny calling Middle East meeting to build anti-Iran alliance

Pro-Brexit flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London. While the UK has repeatedly reiterated its desire not to see a hard border, how to achieve that in a no-deal context is unclear. Photograph: PA

Bulk of withdrawal agreement provisions would fall by wayside

EC spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Wednesday morning: “The EU is fully behind Ireland...that has not changed.” Photograph: Getty Images

Margaritis Schinas responds to uproar over his comments and points to Ireland’s responsibilities

European commission’s chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas.  A commission source was adamant that Mr Schinas’s comments merely expressed a “statement of the obvious”. Photograph: Getty Images

Commission’s chief spokesman says ‘you will have a hard border’ when asked a about the effect of a no-deal scenario on Ireland

 Minister for Finance  Paschal Donohoe and Tánaiste   Simon Coveney, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit. Photo: Tom Honan

‘Government will not support the re-emergence of border infrastructure’, says Coveney

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaking to the media at Government Buildings. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Simon Coveney says backstop is the solution to protecting the status quo in Ireland

Michel Barnier repeated that if the British government abandoned some of its red lines, the EU would not be found wanting. Photograph: Antonio Pedro Santos/EPA

EU’s chief negotiator says that the backstop is not the UK’s main preoccupation

Philip Lane: Last year, he was nominated as a vice-president of the ECB  but his nomination was withdrawn to “avoid divisions”.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Governor of the Central Bank ‘eminently qualified’ for monetary policy oversight

British prime minister Theresa May will make a statement on Monday afternoon outlining her new Brexit proposals. Photograph: PA

Poland suggests time limit to backstop in first hint of dissension within EU

For two weeks in 1919 the ordinary people of Limerick city took over, creating, albeit briefly, the embryonic elements of workers’ control – of, some would say, a new society

The story of the Limerick Soviet has always had a special place in the narrative of the Irish left

European commissioner  Pierre Moscovici is asking the member states to allow voting on tax issues to move from unanimity  to QMV. Photograph: Costas Baltas/Reuters

Europe Letter: Commissioner at loggerheads with Dublin over taxation of digital giants

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, speaking  at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France,  during the debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  Photograph:  EPA/Patrick Seeger

Analysis: Barnier says if UK is willing to go back on its red lines the EU would be prepared to look again at its own position

European Council president Donald Tusk:  “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”  he tweeted. Photograph: AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin/Getty Images

EU diplomats call for clarity from UK amid ongoing efforts to minimise Brexit fallout

A copy of a joint letter from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk sent to British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Illustration/Reuters

Analysis: Extension of article 50 negotiation process would be one off and not to be repeated

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Romanian prime minister Viorica Dancila. Photograph: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

EU leaders hope nation’s politicians will put aside differences for duration of presidency

Members of the European Parliament: it is a genuine co-legislator in many areas of EU policy and budgeting.  Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP

Europe Letter: Danger looms of populists and Eurosceptics inducing legislative gridlock

Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, and Deputy Leader, Michelle O’Neill , arrive for a meeting with EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Sinn Féin leader pushes unity poll in case of no deal at meeting with EU Brexit negotiator

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Authoritarian populism is coming to define the politics of this era – and it could have staying power

Euro sign in Frankfurt: the euro is the currency of choice in some 36 per cent of international payments to the dollar’s 40 per cent. Photograph: Bernd Kammerer

Battle for global dominance between the euro and dollar is entering a new global era

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: Mrs May is not the first EU leader to confront the challenge of wrestling an unamendable EU treaty unacceptable to her people into a form she and the rest of the EU can sign off on. Photograph: Yves Herman

Europe Letter: Has British PM not considered asking Corbyn to cough up Brexit solution?

The European Commission building in Brussels: The commission commits to continuing Irish peace process programmes and their funding. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Commitment included in papers published by Brussels in preparation for no-deal Brexit

Charles Michel: had being trying to put together a working majority in parliament since the right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (NVA) walked out nine days ago. Photograph:  Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

PM Charles Michel resigns after motion of no-confidence in his minority government

Rwanda’s president and African Union chairman Paul Kagame, centre, chats with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Photograph: Florian Wieser/EPA

Issue is ‘not what Europe can do for Africa but ‘what Europe and Africa can do together’

British prime minister Theresa May at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. The latest negotiations illustrate again, observers say, the political naivety that has characterised British Brexit diplomacy. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

PM is looking for clarifications, but she needs to guarantee that parliament will accept them

European Council President Donald Tusk: Trying manfully to suggest that the EU summit was not simply preoccupied with Brexit. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

Donald Tusk says although withdrawal agreement is inviolable he is at Theresa May’s disposal

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: said “it is up to the British government to say what they want”, during his press conference in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Danish prime minister says it is now up to House of Commons to do its ‘homework’

 European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker  and president of the European Council Donald Tusk at a press conference at the end of first day at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

‘We don’t want the UK to think there can be any form of renegotiation whatsoever,’ says Juncker

France’s Emmanuel Macron expressed disappointment at Moscow’s continuing failure to meet obligations in Ukraine line with the 2015 Minsk agreement. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach understood to have said Ireland would agree to give more to EU if it is reformed

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani arrives at the European Council in Brussels. Photograph: EPA

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani appeals to EU leaders to back plan

British prime minister Theresa May arrives for a meeting at an EU summit in Brussels. Photograph: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

PM tells European leaders she can get exit deal through parliament with ‘right assurances’

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker talks to UK prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Europe Letter: Brexit will get a look-in, but is by no means leaders’ main preoccupation

An anti-Brexit demonstrator in London. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Analysis: An extension is possible with the agreement of all 28 member states

British prime minister Theresa May and  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman

Juncker says there is ‘no room whatsoever’ for renegotiation of the withdrawal treaty

German chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Britain’s prime minister Theresa May in Berlin on December 11th, 2018. Photograph: Odd Andersen

Best UK prime minister can hope for is help to ‘clarify’ aspects of her Brexit deal

Theresa May in the House of Commons on Monday following a statement where she told MPs that tomorrow’s ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit deal had been deferred. Photograph: Parbul/PA Wire

Analysis: Clear explanation of role of arbitrators could answer ‘hostage’ fears of some of May’s critics

UK prime minister Theresa May in the House of Commons. Photograph: HO/various sources/ AFP

Can the EU come up with a clarification in language more palatable to May et al?

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