DEADLOCKED: Brexit negotiations will not progress until the United Kingdom can provide a satisfactory answer to the Irish border conundrum, according to European Council President Donald Tusk.

Posted By: July 04, 2018

Joe Barnes, Brussels Correspondent. Express. UK. Tuesday,  July 3, 2018.

The EU’s most senior official posed the threat while briefing MEPs on last week’s European Council summit in Brussels, in which Brexit appeared as an insignificant footnote against migration and enlargement.

Leaders of the EU27 agreed that they should all express concern about the lack of progress on the Irish border as neither Brussels and Westminster have been able to reach an agreement on the so-called Irish backstop.

Brussels is insistent the mechanism must be included in the final withdrawal agreement in order to ensure Theresa May sticks to her pledge of not allowing a hard border to emerge on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

Westminster rejected the EU’s offering which would have seen Northern Ireland kept in the customs union and a goods border erected in the Irish Sea. Likewise, Brussels was not keen on the Prime Minister’s UK-wide, time-limited proposal, leaving talks deadlocked.

Donald Tusk: the UK needs a “solid backstop” in Brexit talks
We cannot make progress unless a solid backstop is presented by the UK and accepted by our Irish friends

Mr. Tusk has now said talks cannot continue any further than the Irish border debate until Britain comes up with an answer that pleases its European counterparts.

He told MEPs: “The 27 leaders shared one concern. While progress has been made in a number of areas, some key aspects still need to be agreed.

“Since there is much work ahead with less and less time, I was very honest in my assessment, including when I spoke to Prime Minister May last week.

“The sooner we get a precise UK proposal on the Irish border, the better the chance to finalize the Brexit negotiations this year.