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Future of Irish border remains Brexit obstacle

Dec. 5, 2017 at 12:07 a.m.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, walks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, center, prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will hold a power lunch on Monday, seeking a breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations ahead of a key EU summit the week after. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS — The European Union and Britain ended a flurry of top-level diplomacy Monday without a deal on the terms of their divorce, as agreement on how to maintain an open Irish border after Brexit slipped away.

But the two sides said they were within striking distance of consensus, setting up a hectic negotiating rush ahead of an EU summit next week. Member countries must decide whether to broaden the talks to the topic of future relations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May went to Brussels for a long negotiating lunch with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. After a day that see-sawed between hope and disappointment, the leaders failed to make what the EU considers "sufficient progress" on three issues: Britain's exit bill, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the currently invisible Irish border.

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