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EU affairs ministers discuss growing divisions in West

Jerome Hughes
Press TV, Brussels

The European Commission says major differences with Britain relating to elements of Brexit must be settled before the end of December. EU affairs ministers have been discussing growing divisions between Western allies during a meeting in Brussels.

As government ministers from the 27-nation EU arrived for a meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Tuesday it became apparent very quickly that the bloc is lurching towards a bitter showdown with some of its closest allies.

Senior European Commission officials told the EU affairs ministers that Brexit issues relating to Northern Ireland must be sorted out before January 1st. The commission accuses Britain of breaking its end of the deal.

Outside the meeting, members of workers' unions gathered to warn of further problems for the EU unless poverty and exclusion are addressed.

EU affairs ministers agreed to seek further information on the move by the US, Britain and Australia to scupper a multi-billion euro submarine deal that Paris had with Canberra.

The controversy surrounding the new US, UK and Australia weapons agreement, known as AUKUS, has been raised with Marise Payne, the Australian foreign minister.

Officials say Borrell did not get a straight answer as to why France and the EU were blindsided. It's clear, however, Canberra was lobbied by Washington and London.

At present it appears that diplomacy in the West simply isn't working. Trust between allies is at an all time low. How this will all play out is anybody's guess.

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