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

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made it clear that Ireland believes the UK must be more specific in the phase one talks about the practicalities of achieving the frictionless border that all are agreed is desired. He said  EU negotiators share this view. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Important differences emerge between European Union and Britain over Border

EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs Pierre Moscovici presents the autumn economic forecasts on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters

Outlook notes ‘substantial’ Irish contribution’ made by construction

Irish Defence Forces in a mowag tank during an exercise in the Glen of Imall: Irish involvement in Pesco is a significant means of enhancing our Defence Forces’ capabilities. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Europe Letter: Pesco initiative is not an EU army but may niggle at neutrality fears

Swiss minister for the economy Johann Schneider-Ammann  and Estonian finance minister Toomas Tõniste at an EU finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. Photograph: Yves Herman/ Reuters

Action spurred on by publication of Paradise Papers, meeting of finance ministers told

ECHR said Icelandic courts had breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

ECHR said Iceland had breached Article 8 of Convention on Human Rights

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: will visit the United States on an official trip next week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Finance to tell US congressional leaders global trade should be encouraged

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire. File Photograph: Mark Marlow/PA Wire

NI Secretary of State says Britain ‘determined to press on’ despite lack of breakthrough

Catalan rally: demonstrators in Barcelona hold banners reading “Freedom for the Political Prisoners. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP Photo

Catalan leader and four colleagues surrendered in Brussels after warrants issued

European Court of Human Rights: a committee of three judges dismissed the case of Mills v Ireland. Photograph: Jean-François Badias/EPA

ECHR says Robert Mills was not the victim of an illegal Garda sting

“Deeply disconcerting”: an empty butter shelf in France is like a dry baguette, according to the New York Times. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

Europe Letter: Looking to France could solve a 50,000-tonne post-Brexit Irish surplus

Deposed Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont (C) gives a statement during a press conference at Press club in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Carles Puigdemont says he is not seeking asylum in Belgium but needs guarantees to return

The court unusually reversed – or trumped — its advocate general.

The English Bridge Union, which took the case, expressed disappointment at the ruling

French La Republique en Marche (EM) ruling party deputies stand and applaud French prime minister Edouard Philippe’s answer on Europe’s posted workers directive at the National Assembly. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty

Europe Letter: Macron an unlikely champion of working man in backing directive reform

Ships in Dublin Port being loaded with goods for export. Photographer: Dara MacDonaill

Report predicts Irish agricultural exports to the rest of the world could fall by $6.5 billion

European Council president Donald Tusk during  a debate on the outcome of last week’s European summit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

European Council president says UK must decide between good deal, bad deal and ‘no Brexit’

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: in some eyes, achievements are being made on the road to Brexit.  Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Reuters

There was confusion after last week’s summit about whether sufficient progress had been made

British prime minister Theresa May takes a seat as she arrives for a bilateral meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk during the EU summit in Brussels. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AFP/Getty Images

Leo Varadkar suggests UK stance is gradually moving closer to EU’s position

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan: there is deep concern over the autocratic leanings of his government and that  Turkey is “no longer on a European path”. Photograph: Presidency Press Service via AP, Pool

Member state leaders also found time to discuss migration, tax, Turkey and Iran

French president Emmanuel Macron arrives at a meeting in Brussels. Photograph: François Lenoir/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of this summit, Donald Tusk toured EU capitals to sound out a ‘leaders’ agenda’

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was unwilling to echo more apocalyptic language used by  Commissioner Phil Hogan  warning that the EU is on a cliff edge.  Photograph: REUTERS/Eric Vidal

‘If UK is leaving the EU, it is incumbent on them to put forward detailed proposals’

Flags of EU members in the atrium of the European Council ahead of a two-day EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Photograph: François Lenoir/Reuters

Commissioner Phil Hogan says EU summit will show 27 member states never more united

Sebastian Kurz, leader  of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP): likely to bring  Heinz-Christian Strache’s far-right Freedom Party into government. Photograph: Alex Halada/AFP/Getty Images

Success of Freedom Party in Austria’s election shows populism far from a spent force

Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Developmenton, said: “What becomes more obvious day-by-day is that the Brexiteers are hooked on brinkmanship – and have been since the beginning”. File photograph: Alan Betson

‘We are now so close to the cliff edge of a hard Brexit ... we can see the drop’ - Ireland’s EU Commissioner

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: says pace of “divorce” talks inadequate. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Simon Coveney welcomes ‘very strong language on Ireland’ in EU summit documents

A report by the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission examined progress by 46 countries towards having at least 40 per cent of both men and women taking part in different aspects of political and public life.

Council of Europe report finds target of 40% participation hit by only Sweden and Finland

EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini: said Mr Trump has promised to consult allies on the agreement and to take account of their strategic interests. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Foreign ministers pledge to lobby US Congress over Trump move to repudiate deal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Nobody wants a hard Brexit. Photograph: EPA

EU also notes UK’s lack of ‘concrete commitment’ on divorce bill

 EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has  claimed Donald Trump’s “decertification” of the Iran nuclear deal  was driven by domestic politics and had no standing in international law. File photograph:Domenic Aquilina/EPA

EU foreign policy boss says the US president ‘has many powers, but not this one’

Ireland’s beef sector would be particularly vulnerable to a massive influx of beef, not least with Brexit looming.

Irish minister concerned EU is vulnerable to massive influx of beef from Mercosur countries

Demonstrators fly a European Union flag and a Union Jack outside  the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London,  October 12th, 2017. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Latest round of talks end with no sign of progress hoped for after May’s Florence speech

UK chief Brexit negotiator David Davis (left) and the EU’s chief negotiator  Michel Barnier  give a press briefing at the end of the fifth round of negotiations  at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, today. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Frustration of EU negotiator could be eased if EU leaders give him enlarged mandate

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier  participates in a media conference  in Brussels. Photograph:Olivier Matthys/AP

Barnier says sides are deadlocked over how much Britain should pay when it leaves

Brexit secretary David Davis with Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the EU. Bereft of developments, creative colleagues in the British press have latched on to supposedly significant “angles”. Photograph: Bloomberg

Lack of progress in Brexit talks turns press briefings into a farce

The  European Court of Justice  in Luxembourg ruled on a dispute involving the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland. Photograph: iStock

Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland is in effect an arm of State, top European court finds

EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan   recently said he is “digging his heels in” to ensure the trade agreement does not allow for the import of lower quality beef into the EU. Photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke

EU trade deals being negotiated may lead to glut of beef in European markets

The ESRI has warned of a potential impact on trade from a hard Brexit - where we are subject to WTO-level tariffs. Photograph: The Irish Times

Analysis: UK is the biggest importer of Irish agri-food, representing 47% of Irish exports

“We never lose our sense of connectedness to our home country. Please don’t make us wait for retirement to be able to vote!” Photograph: Getty Images

Irish official expresses regret at failure of governments to address issue of voting rights

Referendum: Catalans wear pro-independence flags in Barcelona on Tuesday. Photograph: Alberto Estevez/EPA

Europe Letter: EU will offer Spanish region no favours if it carries through on threat

When a VAT registered trader buys goods from another EU member state, he does not pay VAT on import, only charging and accounting for VAT when he sells the goods on the domestic market.

It estimates fraud costs it €50bn a year

Michel Barnier, the European chief negotiator  on Brexit, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker attend a session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on October 3rd. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

‘Northern Ireland Brexit solution will be part of the UK solution,’ insists Dodds

People celebrate after the Catalonia independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Santi Donaire/EPA

Commission refuses to condemn Spanish government or police for violent scenes

Ireland has expressed a preference for hosting Europe’s drugs regulator, the European Medical Agency (EMA), after Brexit. File photograph: Getty Images

Ireland is seeking to host European Medical Agency and European Banking Authority

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for the Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia. “If we want to foster innovation, the solution is not more taxes and more regulation, it’s actually the opposite.” Photograph: Valda Kalnina/EPA

Taoiseach defends Ireland’s low tax stance amid calls for harmonisation of tax rates

Following French president Emmanuel Macron’s strong championing of corporation tax harmonisation in his speech last week, the idea was also backed by German chancellor Angela Merkel on the fringes of Tallinn. Photograph: Valda Kalnina/EPA

Digital summit in Estonia full of futuristic promises but also potential stumbling blocks

European Council president Donald Tusk gives a press conference after the European Union digital summit in Tallinn, Estonia. Photograph: Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images

Tallinn’s DigitExpo treats heads of EU governments to display of artificial intelligence

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “If you want those companies to generate in Europe it not through heavy taxes and more regulation”. File photograph Brian Lawless/PA

Taoiseach: solution is not more taxes and regulation, it’s actually the opposite

United Kingdom’s Brexit secretary of state David Davis (L) is welcomed by Michel Barnier (R) in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Parties begin drafting common principles needed to underpin Common Travel Area

'What the Estonians would like is for the leaders to back what will undoubtedly be called the ‘Tallinn Agenda'.' Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Europe Letter: Tallinn digital summit to be attended by all but one of EU’s heads of state

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