Britain, EU reach historic deal on Brexit divorce terms

London: Britain and the EU reached a historic deal on the terms of the Brexit divorce after Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to Brussels for talks. The European Commission said it ‘recommends sufficient progress’ had been made by Britain on separation issues including the Irish border, Britain’s divorce bill, and citizens rights. The agreement paves the way for EU leaders at a summit on December 14-15 to open the second phase of Brexit negotiations, covering trade talks and a transition period. Britain voted in June 2016 to become the first state to leave the EU, after more than four decades of membership, but the talks have been slow moving and often acrimonious so far. “The Commission is satisfied that sufficient progress has been achieved in each of the three priority areas,” the European Commission said in a statement. Britain agreed to pay a divorce settlement amounting to between 45 and 55 billion euros and to protect the rights of some three million European citizens living there after Brexit as part of the deal. But, Ireland’s demands that Brexit should not lead to the return of checkpoints on the border with Northern Ireland, which it said could jeopardise the peace process in the north, proved the biggest stumbling block at the end.