Germans mock Britain over Brexit and Ireland border fiasco: ‘It’s 3-0 to the EU’

The UK has yet to make “significant progress” on Brexit talks in order to move on to the second stage of negotiations where a trade deal can be thrashed out between Westminster and London.

Yesterday, it initially seemed Britain may have taken one step closer to a deal after the Prime Minister indicated she would bow to Brussels demands, in the first concert indication of a breakthrough in negotiations.

Mrs May conceded she would have to agree with the EU in terms of citizens rights, the unpaid Brexit bill and – crucially – the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But talks on the border issue fell flat as the DUP intervened and forced Mrs May to pull out from signing any deal – with one Brussels correspondant roasting Mrs May for allowing the EU to take a clear 3-0 lead.

Michael Laczynski, reporter for Die Presse, says the UK has been left red faced following Mrs May’s last minute withdrawal amid her internal row with the DUP.

And he claimed Brussels is now clearly winning the Brexit game – with Mrs May forced to make more concessions than the EU in talks so far.

He noted the EU was quick to issue its own compromise to firm up a deal on the Ireland border issue, writing: “London has committed itself to “orienting” the regulatory regime in Northern Ireland to EU regulations. 

“This wording is a gift from EU negotiators to Theresa May, as Brussels and Dublin initially demanded that Northern Ireland’s rules “not deviate” from EU rules.”

But despite the “semantic concession”, he claimed the EU still remains on firm footing to ‘win’ as they go into talks ahead of next week’s EU summit while the UK is still running to catch up.

He said: “It does not change the fact that the Brexit game is currently 3-0 for the Europeans. 

“In terms of money, the British are now ready to transfer 40 to 50 billion euros to Brussels. 

“EU citizens living in the UK should continue to be under (partial) the ECJ jurisdiction. 

“And the approximation of Northern Irish legislation to EU law means de facto that Northern Ireland can remain part of the European customs regime or even the EU single market, and that the EU customs border does not have to run along the sensitive Irish-Northern Irish land border, but along the Irish Sea.”

Mrs May had to break off from talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday for an urgent call with the DUP leader, after she dramatically declared her party’s implacable opposition to proposals which would have imposed “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the Republic in order to avoid the need for a hard border.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said the deal had been agreed by the European Commission, UK and the Republic before the process was thrown into disarray by Mrs Foster’s eleventh-hour intervention. 

He said he was “surprised and disappointed” by Mrs May’s request for more time but Mrs May insisted she was still “confident” of getting a green light for trade talks at next week’s summit.

The Prime Minister is planning to return to Brussels before the end of the week, with time running out to persuade leaders of the remaining 27 EU nations at a summit on December 14-15 that “sufficient progress” has been made on divorce issues to move Brexit negotiations on to their second phase.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg