Britain and EU fail to reach Brexit deal

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(AFP) Britain and the EU failed to strike a Brexit divorce deal during talks in Brussels on Monday but said they were “confident” of reaching an accord later this week.

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

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

“Despite our best efforts and the significant progress we and our teams have made in the past days on the remaining withdrawal issues, it was not possible to reach a complete agreement today,” Juncker said at a joint news conference with May.

“This is not a failure… I am very confident that we will reach an agreement in the course of this week.”

Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, said May was a “tough negotiator and not an easy one.”

May said differences remained on a “couple of issues”.

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