Brexit Talks: May: Agreement on future relations right for UK

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British Prime Minister Theresa May is flying to Brussels to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a bid to finalize a Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The DUP and other Brexiteers need to consider the "catastrophic" consequences for Northern Ireland's economy of leaving the European Union without a deal, a business leader has said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he claimed that businesses in the north will face extra costs and greater checks on livestock imports and exports.

Ms May and Mr Juncker were expected to cover fishing rights and the movement of goods after Brexit, as well as the duration of the transition period and the British territory of Gibraltar, which lies on an outcrop off Spain.

Anti-Brexit campaigners said the text was a "victory for vagueness" and lacked detail on Britain's future.

Spain has said it can't endorse the agreement unless it's made clear that talks on the future relationship with Gibraltar will be a separate negotiation process that Spain must endorse.

Several other European Union governments objected to earlier outlines of the deal because they believe it gives Britain a competitive advantage by not tying it closely enough to European Union regulations, workers' rights, and environmental standards, potentially lowering the production costs of British goods.

"The British people want this to be settled".

Raab, who was the minister responsible for negotiating the deal with the Prime Minister, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I'm not going to advocate staying in the EU.

Ms May must show that she has left nothing on the table if she is to convince British members of parliament to ratify the deal in the coming weeks.

The most controversial part of the deal is about Northern Ireland, starting on page 302 of the draft agreement.

"The PM had a conference call with Cabinet ministers and she received strong support for the document that has been negotiated, that is true both for the agreement as a whole and in specific areas of ministerial responsibility", he said.

After the draft declaration was agreed on Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez repeated a threat to sink the deal if Madrid's concerns on Gibraltar were not met.

Owen Smith, 41, a lawyer, said: "Like the vast majority of Gibraltarians I voted to remain and I'd be happy to see the Brexit process derailed if remaining in the European Union was the outcome".

The new text calls for an "ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership" covering trade, law enforcement, foreign policy, security and defence.

Over 80 Conservative MPs have pledged to vote against the deal, as well as the Democratic Unionist Party which has been propping up May's minority Conservative government.

The Irish border issue, a major sticking point in negotiations over the divorce agreement, will be resolved by a permanent solution "that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland".

"There is a risk on the one hand beyond that of no Brexit at all - and there are people trying to thwart Brexit - and there is also a risk of no deal".

In an update of the withdrawal agreement, both sides have agreed that the post-Brexit transition period may be extended from its current end date of December 31, 2020 "for up to one or two years".

Spain has said it will vote against if Gibraltar's future isn't considered a bilateral issue between Madrid and London.

"After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away".

"There are some issues now regarding Gibraltar with Spain, but I hope that we can keep the unity among the 27", he said.

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