May to reconvene Brexit talks with European Union this week

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney arrives to attend the Eastern Partnership summit at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels Belgium

May to reconvene Brexit talks with European Union this week

British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to break the Brexit talks deadlock on Monday with a new offer on divorce settlements at a crunch meeting with European Union officials, but she has not yet achieved "sufficient progress" on the Irish border - one of three issues that must be resolved.

"I have to say that she is a tough negotiator and not an easy one".

"I'm still confident that we can reach sufficient progress before the European Council of December 15".

So what happened? After a weekend of frantic last-minute negotiations, Ireland, the EU27 and the British government had all signed up to an agreement - or at least, a form of words - that they all thought would be signed off on Monday.

The status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic has risen up the agenda in recent weeks to become the major stumbling block in the way of agreement.

That is, until the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) torpedoed it - because despite them propping up May's fragile majority - they hadn't actually agreed to it.

Here is a timeline of the coming few days that will determine whether Britain avoids further costly delays in giving business assurances of a smooth exit from the European Union and of free trade with its biggest market in the future: May wants the EU to open the second phase of Brexit negotiations concerning relations after Britain's withdrawal on March 30, 2019.

Affairs and Trade in Ireland Simon Coveney speaks on stage during the Fine Gael national party conference in Ballyconnell Ireland

The EU estimated at some 60 billion euros ($71 billion) what Britain should pay to cover outstanding obligations on leaving.

The DUP said it's opposed to any arrangement in which the rules in Northern Ireland are different from those that apply in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Mrs Foster's intervention disrupted the choreography of events in Brussels, as the PM broke off from talks for urgent telephone discussions with the DUP leader.

Meanwhile the leaders of devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and London added a further complication by announcing that if Northern Ireland was to be offered a special status after Brexit, other parts of the United Kingdom should be offered a similar opportunity. The EU will only do that if there is "sufficient progress" in agreeing "divorce" terms, notably on three key issues: a financial settlement, guaranteed rights for EU citizens in Britain and a "soft border" with Ireland.

"Regulatory alignment is not harmonization, it's a question of ensuring similar outcomes in areas where we want to have trade", Davis told lawmakers in London on Tuesday.

And he said reports that Mrs May was ready to allow a role for the European Court of Justice in overseeing EU citizens' rights in post-Brexit Britain were "utterly unacceptable".

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