The EU reaches deal with the United Kingdom on Brexit making "sufficient progress"

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"It hasn't been easy for either side", May said in an early-morning news conference in Brussels following all-night talks.

A breakthrough deal on the first stage of Brexit has been dramatically secured by British Prime Minister Theresa May after making "sufficient progress" in early-morning European Union talks.

Hopes of a breakthrough after a week of wrangling were boosted yesterday after European Council president Donald Tusk announced he would make a Brexit statement at 7.50am today (6.50am in the UK).

Britain and the European Union have only days to clinch a deal on borders, Britain's financial settlement with its European Union partners and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit before a December 14-15 European Union summit that will decide whether Brexit talks can move on to future relations and trade.

The Lib Dem spokesman said there was "still no solution over how to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland" in the text of the joint report.

"Specifically, more work is needed around the areas of cooperation where it would be necessary to have alignment of rules and standards", the DUP said, adding that more needed to be done to establish how alignment could be effected without staying in the EU's single market and customs union. "It's an ongoing process", the spokesman told reporters.

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" On Wednesday, the College of Commissioners gave me a mandate to conclude the negotiation of the Joint Report", said Juncker, explaining that the deal had to be concluded until Friday, as the European Council is to take place next week, at 14 December, meaning that both the EU and the United Kingdom had been running out of time.

Earlier on Thursday evening, a UK Government source said: "We're not there yet".

DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Discussions are ongoing".

When E.U. leaders decide next week whether to unlock the next phase of the talks, they will likely also set out their demands for the transition period that Britain is seeking as it eases out of the bloc.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leader of the Brexit campaign, insisted the whole of the United Kingdom must "take back control" when it left the EU.

Border quandary Britain agreed to pay a divorce settlement amounting to between €45bn and €55bn and to protect the rights of some three million European citizens living there after Brexit as part of the deal.

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