Brexit negotiations ‘in the endgame’: Theresa May

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday said that the negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union were “in the endgame,” but asserted that securing an agreement on the same was “immensely difficult.”

With time ticking out before the UK officially leaves the European bloc by next year, May said that a deal would not come “at any cost.”

“Any deal must ensure we take back control of our laws, borders and money. It must secure the ability to strike new trade deals around the world,” the British Prime Minister was quoted by CNN as saying.

Chief European Union negotiator, Michel Barnier, earlier said that intense negotiations on chalking out a Brexit deal were on. A European diplomat told CNN that Barnier had to scrap a planned news conference, owing to the talks with the British government.

Currently, both the UK and Ireland are part of the EU single market, which means that goods and services being transported between the two regions need not undergo custom checks.

The two countries also want to avoid a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which would require custom inspections. But, both the sides have been unable to come out with the conditions.

If the two sides fail to finalize the Brexit deal, a policy would be applicable in 2020, wherein Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the EU customs union.

The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. However, in practice, a deal has to be finalized in the next few months to allow for parliamentary ratification.

In June, the EU Withdrawal Bill, also known as the Brexit Bill, became a law, after Queen Elizabeth II gave her approval.