EU leaders to discuss UK draft Brexit deal

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Brussels, Nov 15 (IANS) The European Union (EU) will hold an extraordinary leaders’ summit on Brexit on November 25, President of the European Commission Donald Tusk said on Thursday.

Tusk was addressing reporters in Brussels after the British government presented a draft agreement on Wednesday night on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, reports Efe news.

“We have always said Brexit is a lose-lose situation and these negotiations were always about damage control,” Tusk said.

He praised the efforts of the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who was also present at the press conference.

“First, you ensured the limitation of the damage caused by Brexit and second you secured the vital interest and principles of the 27 member states and of the EU as a whole,” Tusk said.

He added that “if I weren’t confident that you did your best to protect the interest of the 27, and I familiar of the essence of the document, I would not propose to formalise this deal” at the summit later this month.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had announced on Wednesday night that her cabinet had backed a proposal after a meeting she described as a “long, detailed and impassioned debate”, adding that the deal was “the best that could be negotiated”.

May said the agreement was the result of “thousands of hours of hard negotiation by UK officials” and was reached after a key obstacle – the border between the Republic of Ireland, which will remain a part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, that will remain a part of the UK – was overcome.

The goal of both EU and UK Brexit negotiators has been to avoid a “hard border” in Ireland that would likely hurt the economy on either side and could undermine Northern Ireland’s peace process.

–IANS

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