The EU and the UK have agreed on a draft agreement for the withdrawal of the Brexit, including a mechanism to ensure that there will be no hard line on the island of Ireland.
The Irish Times understands that the agreement, which runs to hundreds of pages, includes a backstop for the entire US with provisions for additional alignment with EU rules in Northern Ireland.
The breakthrough came with an agreement on an assessment mechanism that would determine when the backstop is no longer needed to ensure that the border remains open after the Brexit.
The backstop is an insurance policy written in the withdrawal contract that does not guarantee a harder limit on the island of Ireland. It would only be used as a last resort or standard option if the EU and the UK can not achieve an umbrella free trade agreement that makes trading so frictionless that there is no border between the EU and the UK, including on the border between Northern Ireland and the UK. the Republic.
The appointment about the future backstop was first reported by The Irish Times last week.
Downing Street did not offer details of the draft agreement and officials in Brussels and Dublin also refused to comment.
"The cabinet will meet tomorrow at 2.00 pm to discuss the draft agreement reached by the negotiating teams in Brussels and to decide on the next steps," said a Downing Street spokesperson. "Cabinet ministers are invited to read the documentation prior to that meeting."
A number of Mrs. May's ministers left for the Downing Street 10 tonight. They have all refused so far to answer questions from reporters when they left.
EU head Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has informed the European Commissioners of the new agreement on Tuesday afternoon.
The cabinet in Dublin will probably hold a special meeting tomorrow to sign the proposal. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Secretary of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee are expected to meet tonight to assess the draft agreement.
The agreement means that the United Kingdom will remain in a customs union with the EU for a period after Brexit and specific other measures to ensure that no border controls are required on the island of Ireland.
Close attention will be paid to the conditions under which the UK could leave the customs union, with the agreement expected to include three options.
One of these will be the conclusion of a long-term trade agreement between the EU and the UK, the conditions of which would ensure that border controls on trade do not take place.
Sources in Dublin are of the opinion that the framework agreement provides sufficient guarantees with regard to the border. However, the details will be examined from all sides and Ms. May will need the support of her cabinet, which is deeply divided about the best way to make progress in the Brexit area.
Tory Brexiteer Boris Johnson, the former British foreign secretary now in the back seat, said he had not seen the full details, but what had been reported was "completely unacceptable to anyone who believes in democracy".
"For the first time since the breakup of Dublin under these proposals will have more say in some aspects of the government of Northern Ireland than in London, I do not see how you can support this," he said.
The agreed stop is aimed at the so-called UK-wide scheme, in which the United Kingdom would stay in a customs union with the EU for a period after the Brexit. Specific other measures will be included for Northern Ireland.
The details of the scheme will be closely monitored by the DUP, who objected to anything that would mean a new trade barrier between the North and Great Britain. The DUP is the key to guaranteeing the majority of Mrs. May in Westminster.
DUP Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson told the BBC that he would be looking for three things from the withdrawal agreement.
"Whatever the arrangements are, they do not treat Northern Ireland differently, what we hear is not the case … Secondly, that all the regulations that have been put in place are temporary, and thirdly, the ability to get out of those schemes. [SHOULD BE]with the UK government, not with the EU or an independent body, "he said.
& # 39; Hard to sell & # 39;
The deputy leader Nigel Dodds, who said he had not yet seen a design deal, predicted that the agreement would have a hard sale. would be for Ms. May.
The main issue in the last few days is the demand from other EU members that the UK provides sufficient guarantees to ensure that its companies can operate on a level playing field like the UK after leaving the bloc in the Customs Union. remains.
In response to the reports that an agreement had been reached, a spokesman for Mr Coveney emphasized that the negotiations had not yet been concluded.
"We do not comment on speculation in the media around the Broadcast Agreement, Michel Barnier and the Taskforce are in charge of negotiating with the UK and we have been in constant contact with them.
"The Brexit negotiations are extremely sensitive and the government will continue to respond in due time."
More to follow …