EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, left, delivers the draft withdrawal agreement to European Council president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

By its own ‘concessions’ yardstick, the United Kingdom has not much to boast about

Port officers inspect vehicles at a harbour checkpoint in Larne. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Physical checks by customs would probably only be carried out based on tip-offs

French president Emmanuel Macron’s post-nationalist Europe narrative is very simplistic. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: The EU needs to prove it can help resolve problems that feed nationalism

British prime minister Theresa May delivering a Brexit statement at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Protocol on Northern Ireland provides backstop guarantee that will safeguard a soft border

 Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator, gives a press briefing in Brussels as the British cabinet  backed the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photograph: EPA/ Olivier Hoslet

EU ambassadors to begin process of calling a special summit to approve the deal

 A demonstrator holds a sign outside the Houses of Parliament in  London on Tuesday. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Special protocol on Northern Ireland provides a backstop guarantee that will safeguard soft Border

Dogs with leads bearing European Union  flags are pictured as anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the entrance to Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

Analysis: Negotiators tacitly accept that customs union will form basis of future EU relationship

The European Commission continues to meet EU state representatives weekly to co-ordinate national and EU contingency planning for Brexit. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials say no-deal contingency planning should not be seen as undercutting talks on deal, but necessary to plan for all eventua(...)

Tánaiste Simon Coveney  and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Coveney says talks intensifying as Boris Johnson accuses May of nearing ‘total surrender’

Manfred Weber: has been an MEP for 16 years but has no state or federal ministerial experience. Photograph: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva

Pragmatic 46-year-old Bavarian and EPP leader is close ally of Angela Merkel

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  delivers a speech during the European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki, Finland. Photograph: Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg.

Varadkar says a November summit on a Brexit deal will be impossible

Manfred Weber, German head of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament,  after being chosen as the EPP’s candidate for the European Commission presidency. Photograph:   Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg

European People’s Party backs Manfred Weber to become EU commission president

At its party congress in Helsinki, the European People’s Party, to which Fine Gael is affiliated, saw a final debate, chaired by Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness, for the nomination between runaway favourite, pragmatic MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament (left), and former Finnish PM, Alexander Stubb (right). Photograph:  Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva / AFP

More than 2,000 participants from 41 countries are at the European People’s Party congress, including some from Fine Gael, led by (...)

Belgium’s former king, Albert II: has been asked to undergo a DNA test to determine paternity. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Europe Letter: Artist Delphine Boël claims abdicated King Albert II is biological father

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar: hospitals should “match peak demand with peak resources”.  Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva

Taoiseach criticised over remarks about flawed winter rostering of staff in hospitals

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila (right)  at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Helsinki. Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP

Taoiseach says possibility of special Brexit deal summit in November becoming less likely

Taoiseach   Leo Varadkar, speaking in Finland, said his comments should not be seen as  controversial . Photograph: Reuters

Varadkar said he did not have authority to issue directive as this was a matter for HSE

European commissioner  Pierre Moscovici,  Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Spain’s minister for finance Nadia Calvino at the  meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers  in Brussels, on Monday.  Photograph:  Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Minister reiterates Ireland’s stance at meeting of finance ministers in Brussels

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made clear to British prime minister Theresa May  his “consistent” position that a unilateral withdrawal from the Border backstop by the UK was unacceptable. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach underlines ‘consistent’ stance on Border in call with British prime minister

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: Ireland is among member states calling for reforms to the ESM, the EU’s loan bailout fund. Photograph: Tom Honan

Hanseatic League wants ESM to get controls like IMF to guarantee loan sustainability

An all-UK customs backstop would have to stay in place until a new “better” deal is agreed in the context of the permanent future relationship deal. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

British and EU negotiators prepared to re-enter ‘tunnel’ amid talk of legal ‘bridge’

EU and Irish sources say the original EU plan for the Irish backstop must also remain in the withdrawal agreement as a final fail-safe.

Assurances involve prospect of UK staying in customs union for post-Brexit period

British prime minister Theresa May: Ultimately, the withdrawal and Belfast agreements are reconcilable. They will have to be if the no-hard-border backstop, to which the UK has already committed itself, is to be agreed. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Europe Letter: Acceptance of Belfast Agreement logic can bring solution to backstop

President Michael D Higgins ‘is committed to establishing an audit committee’, a spokesman said. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

President is expected to make scrutiny proposal to Government following inauguration

A Russian tactical nuclear-capable Iskander missile launches during the Zapad military exercises on the Luga range in the St Petersburg region. Photograph: Russian defence ministry

US president’s actions are reversing continent’s move away from arms proliferation

Bruno Le Maire. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: France’s Bruno Le Maire is mobilising for a cause Dublin is dead against

Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister. The European Commission has formally rejected Italy’s draft budget. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

‘Excessive debt is an enemy of the people,’ says economic affairs commissioner

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery

Council to meet on Monday week to decide nomination

Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden, of the US Senate Finance Committee, warn of “significant and growing concerns” in the US about the tax. Photograph: Getty Images

US committee says tax could almost certainly give rise to double-taxation issues

 Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who delivered a blistering critique on Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ vision.   Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman

Brussels summit champions global co-operation in face of US protectionism

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Merkel and Macron turn up heat on May to find a political solution to impasse

British Prime Minister Theresa May walks off the podium after a media conference during the EU summit in Brussels on  Thursday. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

A better deal may not come, no matter how many extra months are allowed to discuss it

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned of a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

DUP and Arlene Foster ‘determined to wreck Belfast Agreement’

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and British prime minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Taoiseach Government/PA Wire

British PM asserts commitment to backstop while Varadkar says time limit unworkable

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels, on Wednesday ahead of the EU summit dinner. Photograph: AP

Leo Varadkar attending EU summit dinner in Brussels as May comes under pressure

Frans Timmermans: “The independence of the judiciary is essential for the functioning of the EU as a community of law.” Photograph: Georg Hochmuth/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission’s Frans Timmermans ‘not optimistic’ Poland will pull back

British prime minister Theresa May arrives for the European Council summit in Brussels. There is backing  for the idea of extending the UK transition period by a year – although the UK would have to ask for it. Photograph: EPA

Summit consigned to Sisyphean task of rolling huge boulders endlessly uphill

Anti-brexit protestors wave flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Fianna Fáil leader seeking ‘no election’ assurance from Leo Varadkar before Brexit deal struck

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Council president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Tánaiste ‘confident deal can be done’ as European Council president sounds gloomy note

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Unclear if withdrawal agreement can include temporary all-UK customs union in backstop

 Theresa May addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Monday

Backstop promise ‘cannot be time-limited’, Minister for Foreign Affairs insists

Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto shakes hands with UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt:  Hungary is a strong supporter of Israel and defends the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Photograph: Jack Taylor/PA

EU unlikely to back Hungary’s call to muzzle bodies seeking Israeli boycotts or sanctions

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: “Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for Ireland/Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border.” Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Backstop accord elusive for London and Brussels as time-limitation a stumbling block

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab  arrived mid-afternoon in Brussels and stayed for less than two hours and  refused to meet journalists. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Dismay in Brussels after UK Brexit secretary’s visit does not resolve Irish backstop issue

Protesters in Sofia. With incomes as little as a tenth of the EU top earners, Bulgaria is the poorest member state, followed by Romania, Croatia, Poland and Hungary. File photograph: Stoyan Nenov

Bulgaria is playing catch-up with western Europe. Super-rich Germany is a different world

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Wedmesday. Photograph:  Yves Herman/Reuters

Analysis: Negotiations remain under wraps but Irish backstop deal coming into view

The Berlaymont in Brussels. Photograph: iStock

Europe Letter: Ireland is severely under-represented among younger officials

Carwyn Jones, first minister of Wales, in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Carwyn Jones concerned about temporary deal as EU-UK talks intensify in Brussels

The Killorglin-based company cultivates mussels in Castlemaine harbour.

Company says financial losses caused by implementation of an EU regulation

DUP leader Arlene Foster clarified her recent controversial “blood red” lines remark as “deep red”, in contrast to “pink” lines.

Foster clarifies ‘blood red lines’ as fundamental issues that ‘mattered very greatly’

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  with DUP leader Arlene Foster (right), and DUP MEP Diane Dodds  at the European Commission in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/ via AP

Foster says party rejects any barrier to trade between Northern Ireland and Britain

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Rome after a meeting with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday. Photograph:  Riccardo Antimiani/ANSA via AP

Michel Barnier keen that paper reflects evolving UK position on customs union and backstop

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. The Government is opposed to proposals from the European Commission for a digital services tax.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Ireland, the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden say tax would contravene bilateral treaties

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, meets Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill,  SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party, in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Walschaerts/Reuters

Heads of Remainer parties tell Barnier and Verhofstadt of need to mitigate Brexit effects

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and  EU Council president Donald Tusk meet  in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: EPA

Varadkar warns of ‘constraints’ on flagged new Brexit backstop proposals

In 2017 EU commitments of €159 billion had been planned but payments of only €125 billion were disbursed.

In 2017 Ireland received €1.5 billion in agriculture subsidies out of its total receipts of €1.8 billion

A woman looks at the sculpture of the “leopard man” at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) in Tervuren in 2013, shortly before its closure for renovation and a reshaping of its narrative. It is due to reopen in December. Photograph: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: What are museums for? Recasting Belgium’s national narrative

Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini: said the interest of the Italian people came ahead of “bureaucrats”. Photograph: Simone Arveda/EPA

The new Italian government’s pledged expansionary budget is a worry for Brussels

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn at the inauguration of a square named after Jo Cox, a British Labour MP who was killed in 2016, in Brussels, Belgium.  Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Party set to vote down any departure agreement that fails to meet key tests

Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Europe Letter: A monthly €4,416 allowance has been heavily criticised by journalists

Court of Justice of the European Union said the  documents were  protected by the EU institutions’ freedom of information regime. Photograph: Getty

Investigative journalists, including Gavin Sheridan, had sought access to the data

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Poland at centre of legal case over judges, while €2.7bn in duties demanded from UK

British prime minister Theresa May looks back following an EU leaders’ group photo on the second day of a summit in Salzburg, Austria. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Prospect of deal between EU and UK is as far away as ever after fractious EU summit at Salzburg

 Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz  talked about what he called a successful visit with European Council president Donald Tusk to Egypt and its willingness to intensify talks with the European Union. Photograph:  Christian Bruna/EPA

Leaders discussed Commission proposals to beef up the EU’s border agency, Frontex, with 10,000 border guards to be deployed to ass(...)

 Theresa May and Leo Varadkar attend a bilateral meeting during the informal summit of European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria on Thursday. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Brexit is a ‘lose, lose, lose’ damage limitation exercise, Simon Coveney says

Sources said Theresa May remained solidly committed to the British pledge in December to a “backstop” for Northern Ireland. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Leaders gather in Salzburg as Taoiseach outlines preparations for no-deal Brexit

British prime minister Theresa May, in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

Salzburg summit largely a Brexit stocktaking exercise ahead of October

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses a press conference on a new Africa-Europe Alliance. Photograph: Emmanuel DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: Commission talks up continent’s wealth, young people and women

 Tánaiste Simon Coveney with Michel Barnier:  there is widespread concern that the detailed work being done for the planned October Brexit meeting will not be completed. Photograph: EPA/Olivier Hoslet

Simon Coveney says efforts should be ‘intensified’ to stick to talks schedule

News reports have been hinting at a new flexibility on the part of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to give Theresa May a break on how to deal with the problem of maintaining a frictionless border on the island of Ireland. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

There’s a strong element of glossing over the essential principle of the EU position on Northern Ireland

 Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service David Sterling making his  speech in Brussels.  Photograph: European Policy Centre/PA Wire

David Sterling says administrators still being guided by letter from before collapse of executive

Satellite dishes at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, Cornwall: intercepts are legitimate in pursuit of terrorists or criminals. Photograph: Kieran Doherty

European Court of Human Rights rules on bulk interception and service provider data

EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality Vera Jourova, commissioner for security union Julian King, and commissioner for digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel: new measures to  counter terrorism and invest in cybersecurity. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

EU security commissioner tells journalists targeted content is already illegal offline

Matteo Salvini: observers suggest he could easily be prevailed on to stand for the presidency of the European Commission. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA

Fracturing of European People’s Party presents opportunity to far-right

The EU Parliament rapporteur on copyright,  Axel Voss,  celebrates after a vote on modifications to EU copyright reforms during a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Proposed rules would halt unsanctioned uploading of copyright material

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker delivering his state of the union speech at the European Parliament on Wednesday. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

MEPs vote by substantial majority to discipline Hungary for breaching rule of law

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban   at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The government in Budapest is accused of  multiple breaches of the rule of law, corruption,  discrimination against minorities, and its refusal to take in migrants. Photograph: EPA/Patrick Seeger

Hungarian prime minister tells European Parliament ‘if necessary we will stand up to you’

Pictured  in 2014 at  ‘Hooded Men’ Amnest Press conference in Dublin from left Francis Mc Guigan, Micheal Donnelly, Patrick Mc Nally Brian Turley and Kevin Hannaway. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

ECHR maintains judgment on 1970s interrogation techniques used against prisoners in North

European Parliament:  EU peace funding has “decisively contributed to the peace process in Northern Ireland, supports the Good Friday Agreement, and continues to support the reconciliation of the two communities.” Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty

Resolution to be discussed in Strasbourg on Tuesday

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he had “articulated our concerns again on the impact of the tax on tax cooperation and open trade internationally”. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Paschal Donohoe has been leading charge against European Commission measures

 Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Paschal Donohoe makes the claim as he attends meeting of EU ministers for finance

MEPs are bitterly divided over creating new copyright rules ahead of meeting next week

Ireland’s EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan will also warn the Kennedy Summer School about the ‘short-termist psychology’ of US president Donald Trump. Photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke

Ireland’s EU Commissioner to tell summer school people should not listen to Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage or Jacob Rees-Mogg

EU ambassadors: the Irish Border question needs to be answered. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Private 4,000-word analysis considers North Border, likelihood of united Ireland and fears over fresh conflict

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: The carve-up of key European jobs has begun as incumbent terms run out. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Europe Letter: France and Germany lead field in expectation of key roles in institutions

European Ombudsman Emily OReilly is critical of the manner in which Martin Selmayr has been appointed. Photograph: Getty Images

EU ombudsman cites ‘maladministration’ in Selmayr’s appointment as secretary general

Brexit campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg: “I have consistently said this is about changing the policy, not the prime minister.” File photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Brexiteer says backstop issue holding up talks, and answer is not to put up a border

Britain’s Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief  negotiator Michel Barnier  in Brussels on August 31st. Photograph:  Emmanuel Dunand/ AFP/Getty

Rabb and Barnier meet in Brussels but no agreement how Border might work

The European Commission will recommend that Member States stop changing the time by an hour twice a year. Photograph: Getty Images

EU Commission wants to abolish summertime clock switching

Protesters gather in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw during a rally  against  Supreme Court legislation in  July  2017. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Europe Letter: Deputy PM claims EU heading for ‘auto-destruction’ if CJEU rules against Poland

A placard outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Simon Dawson

Europe Letter: The idea is likely to be toxic to Tories but it may be the only way to progress

Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: still have  “a mountain to climb”. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Barnier and Raab talks achieve some ‘convergence’ on security and defence

The joint declaration from the meeting Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker hailed a “new phase” in the relationship between the US and the EU.

Markets reassured by ‘de-escalation’ of conflict over tariffs, trade barriers and subsidies

Ms Justice Donnelly earlier this year referred aspects of an extradition case involving  a Polish national  to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Photograph: Alan Betson

High Court will now have to decide if alleged drug dealer can get fair trial in Poland

Italy is giving the EU five weeks to find a solution to share the migration burden. File photograph: Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

Union will pay for resettlement in member states to the tune of €-8,000-€10,000 a head

Mary Lou McDonald: “The reality is that those who brought us Brexit ought to have considered all of the consequences of that. Brexit is not there of our making or of our choice”

Mary Lou McDonald and party’s Northern leader Michelle O’Neill have talks with Michel Barnier

Prince Laurent at a military parade to celebrate Belgium’s National Day on  July 21st: is taking legal action over loss of 15 per cent of his annual €307,000 allowance.  Photograph: Julien Warnand

Twelfth in line to throne Prince Laurent claims massive violation of human rights

Nato and trade: President Trump’s increasing demands have shown the true resilience of the European Union.  Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty

Europe has responded to Trump’s broadsides by showing it is capable of going on alone

Theresa May delivers a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, on Friday. The British prime minister challenged the EU to reply to last week’s British government White Paper. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Reuters

EU chief negotiator Barnier says the UK’s White Paper is ‘proven unworkable’

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier chats with Minister for Foreign Affairs  Simon Coveney ahead of a meeting at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Minister claims UK only ‘partially’ addressed issue in context of customs thus far

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