The End Of The Beginning


British prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker this morning

This morning.

Brussels, Belgium.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he believes the breakthrough needed has been made, and is sure the EU27 will open Phase 2 of Brexit talks.

Speaking at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels, Mr Juncker said the Uk has made significant commitments on avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the UK.

But he warned there is still a lot of work to be done.

The Commission president said: “I will always be sad about this development, but now we must start looking to the future, a future in which the UK will remain a close friend and ally.”

Mrs May said the deal agreed today is a significant improvement from Monday and the joint report is in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

She said that “we guarantee there will be no hard border in Ireland” and “we will uphold the Belfast Agreement”.

May and Juncker agree to Brexit deal (RTÉ)


More as we get it.


From left: Helen McEntee, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney

Government Buildings.

“Today is a very significant day for Ireland and the EU. After long & intensive negotiations we have reached a satisfactory conclusion on the Irish issues including the border…

…We have achieved all we set out to achieve in Phase 1. This is not the end but it is the end of the beginning. The Good Friday Agreement is fully protected & the Common Travel Area will continue. The UK is committed to avoiding a hard border.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, this morning.



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54 thoughts on “The End Of The Beginning

    1. Brother Barnabas

      There’s a large slice of fudge waiting for you in the Tuesday Papers, Charger. Not having it? More than you can handle?

        1. Brother Barnabas

          if you squirt lemon in your eye, turn your head sideways and squint, things look very, very different. this is actually exactly the deal May wanted. but paddy’s too thick to see that.

    2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      I’ve just noticed you! Crikey, your wit is rapier sharp. I’ll keep my eye on you now: you’re one to follow.

      1. Liam Deliverance

        It looks like young Leo has brought the colouring pencils and marla, they are going to make some papier mache after lunch with the Irish Times. No eating the glue boys and girls!

    1. Killian G

      Churchill quotes are great.

      Are you inspired by this one:
      “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”

    2. Nigel

      Let’s see, socks, fudge, tin can down the road… we still need Veruka, paddy, spud, bum slappers, this is the outcome we expected and trying too hard for Salmon bingo.

  1. Charger Salmons

    And a reported Brexit bill of £35-39 billion.
    Not quite the €100billion that ” experts ” were predicting.
    Huge figures for a country like Ireland but the sort of stuff Hammond can find down the back of the Treasury sofa.

    1. Killian G


      Actually, “experts” have been predicting “around £50 billion”. And this morning, Theresa May said:

      “The estimated financial settlement amounts to some £52 billion, which we believe is fair to the British taxpayer”.

      1. Charger Salmons

        Breaking News.

        BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain estimates the ultimate cost of meeting its financial obligations to the European Union on Brexit at 40 to 45 billion euros, a British source said on Friday.

        What’s your source for the May quote ?

    2. Listrade

      Look at you mixing up currencies to make it look legit and a victory.

      Minor points to consider. Agreement has been published, read it first. They have agreed on the method of calculating the final bill, not the bill itself.

      You’re right that “experts” mentioned €100bn (€113bn to be exact) but they weren’t predicting that as the settlement. In fact they clearly stated that is the gross bill. It is. But they then reduced the bill based on EU assets that the UK would have a share of and the UK rebate, that figure was reduced dramatically.

      That was where there was disagreement as how you calculated that figure varied from €20bn to €80bn. Most “experts” put the figure at closer to €60bn. Theresa May put the figure at €50bn, that’s why she went to the cabinet telling them to set aside more money for that amount. That’s why current estimates are for about €50bn. Like your figure.

      But the important thing is that there is no final figure. The agreement is explained in detail from page 9-15, it is an agreement on how the bill will be calculated and paid. Like the UK agreeing to pay it’s EU contributions up to 2020. that kind of thing.

      Don’t know your personal circumstances though Charger, but if you are British and living in Ireland (my assumption) then page 1-6 of the agreement will be of interest in terms of citizen’s rights.

      What am I saying, of course you’ve already read the final agreement and haven’t just picked up misinformation from twitter.

      1. Charger Salmons

        I have dual British-Irish citizenship,old cock,so no need to worry about my future.
        As to the bill I’m merely reporting what the British side said,in sterling,they thought it would be including the payments for the transition period which they would have had to make anyway if they were still in.
        And it is being widely reported as £35-39billion.
        Either way it’s considerably less than what the Project Fear Mk2 doom-merchants were predicting and a much easier figure for May to sell.
        After a calamitous few weeks Prime Minister May can afford herself a small celebration today and Varadkar has had his day in the sun.
        He goes back to being an EU bit player.

        1. Listrade

          The project doom merchants are the same as the sources you quote: the media. Both sides misinformed and pushing an agenda. You can’t criticise one side for misinformation by quoting another misinformed side.

          Anyway, whether doom merchants or not, there’s scope for spin in the agreement. The payment on the day of Brexit will be close to what is reported, but the total of the final payment (including UK commitments up to 2020) will be close to €60bn.

          Depending on your ideology over fact you can spin it any way

        2. TheRealJane

          Are you one of those brexit lads who voted brexit and then went to the Irish embassy with your passport application in such indecent haste you collapsed panting on the fáilte mat?

  2. Charger Salmons

    I see RTE’s government hand-puppet Tony Connelly was kept out of the loop this time – I presume the USE had a quiet word in Verruca’s ear not to cock it up like he did earlier in the week.

    And a great tweet from Brillo.

    ” A statement from Pundit Central: when we said stage one agreement on Brexit talks was mission impossible, obviously we meant stage two. “

  3. Warden of the Snort

    Brilliant leadership by the much-maligned Mrs May

    I believe she has been greatly underestimated by pundits and media

    Looks like DUP have backed down on everything

    1. Charger Salmons

      Apart from no border in the Irish Sea and Stormont having the final say on regulatory divergence.
      Arlene is a wise old bird and she softened Leo’s cough in a big way this week.

      1. Warden of the Snort

        You seem like a sort of a simple fellow so I’ll take it easy on you this one time.

        What part of Northern Ireland remaining in the Customs Union and single market have you missed?

        Arlene is the person directly responsible for squandering millions of euro in taxpayers money to disperse to her cronies in the desperate RHI scheme and yet inexplicably has a job. I guess your standards of performance are adjusted downward accordingly though seeing as you are a Brexiteer.

      2. scottser

        so charger, if the uk wants to do a trade deal with say, china it needs the approval of the ni assembly. which means that sinn fein could effectively veto it.

    2. Brother Barnabas


      I think May is doing really well – despite all she has to deal with. And going about it with a lot of grace and dignity. She’s a classy politician.

  4. some old queen

    I like distilling things down to binary logic so here is a question.

    How can there ever be a hard Brexit now without a hard border in Ireland?

    1. Listrade

      Take the full text of the deal as confirmation of no hard Brexit.

      It talks of 2 years transition (post leaving) where UK will still bind by EU regulations. That sounds a lot like leading up to at least a Norwegian deal.

      Also pretty secure rights for citizens and their families up to an agreed date on both sides. Which seems like a date post 2019. so EU citizens won’t be kicked out on date leaving and will still have residency rights up to an agreed transition date.

      And UK to be bound to ECJ for 9 years. Probably that long pending any cases that might arise during transition period.

      Sounds a lot like soft Brexit is on the table.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        Are you saying then that today’s agreement (pan-Uk regulatory alignment with EU etc) has effectively set the tone and direction for coming trade deal?
        And do you reckon much of this is already agreed?

        1. Listrade

          Couldn’t say much about trade deal, I’d doubt that much if anything has been agreed, but a tone has been set for an easier deal. Most of that could come from UK conceeding on some of the key points.

          A lot of them are safety nets for if they can’t agree a trade deal in time then the UK still exits, but there’s buffers there with regulatory alignment, citizens rights etc. So it takes the edge off the urgency (and bad will) behind negotiations.

          The cliff edge has gone in the main and that should make for a more amicable next round of negotiation.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            interesting. thanks.
            on the brightside, looks like it’s going to be a rolling drama over next few years.

  5. Shayna

    I happened to watch the announcement this morning, and it appeared all a tad wishy-washy. Each of the players in the delay of “Phase One” seems to be on a self-congratulatory high, according to Arlene Foster, she negotiated 6 measures that her Party found agreeable.

    An Taoiseach is probably glad that he no longer has to have meetings around what appears to be an infant school’s table. He used phrases such as “Cast Iron” and “Bullet-proof” in relation to a hard border.

    The PM, to be fair (I’m not a Tory type) inherited the whole Brexit thing from Cameron – she campaigned to “Remain”, seemed relieved.
    Without wishing to appear naive, England were wrong. The British Government allude to the importance of “The Union”. Scotland, Wales and the North of Ireland all majorly voted to remain in The EU. England by virtue of population have the veto. A democratic union, not so much. London, with an estimated population of roughly twice that of the whole of Ireland, voted to remain.

    Sadiq Kahn, The London Mayor suggested that within the M25, it could somehow remain in the EU.
    Divorce payment figures have been bandied about, ranging from €30ish billion to €120ish billion.

    I really do fail to see what England gains from Brexit. Tony Blair had the whole WMDs debacle in The Middle East, David Cameron had the whole, allowing a referendum on Brexit in the first place debacle.

    Meantime, Nicola Sturgeon is demanding similar attention as The North of Ireland to Scotland, in regard to Brexit. Next thing you know, Carwyn Jones wants a piece of the action for Wales. Nice one England!

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