Europe Offers Britain an Olive Branch to Break Brexit Impasse

17 October, 2018, 18:05 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • BRUSSELS BELGIUM- JUNE 28 British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Council of the European Union on the first day of the European Council leaders' summit

According to two European diplomats, Barnier is ready to add a year to the 21-month post Brexit transition period - taking it to the end of 2021 -to provide more space to strike a trade deal.

Arlene Foster has been urged to clarify who is speaking for the DUP when it comes to Brexit negotiations, amid claims the party is sending out wildly conflicting signals.

European Union leaders are converging on Brussels for what had been billed as a "moment of truth" Brexit summit but which now holds little promise for a breakthrough.

As Mr Corbyn and others have said: "It's groundhog day".

Here Theresa May will have a chance to assess the loyalty of her cabinet as they meet to discuss yesterday's bruising Commons session.

The Labour leader asked Theresa May whether her Brexit proposal was "dead" as the Prime Minister failed to mention Chequers during her Party Conference speech and her Brexit statement to Parliament on Monday. "We need more weeks to see if we can get a deal".

Many suspect that will not be enough time, which has led the European Union to demand a "backstop" to ensure there are no customs posts or other controls along the border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

But her own Eurosceptic Conservative MPs are demanding this "backstop" arrangement be time-limited, something the European Union will not accept.

"I think we are quite close to a no-deal", warned Konrad Szymanski, the Polish minister for European Affairs, after a pre-summit meeting with his European counterparts in Luxembourg.

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With hopes of a November summit fading, focus has turned to the next scheduled meeting of the European Council in December as the last chance to secure a deal and get it ratified by the United Kingdom and European parliaments before Britain leaves in March 2019.

And it is all because of the Irish border issue - squaring the circle or making the impossible possible.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Business Insider reported last week that Leadsom, Mordaunt and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey were all prepared to quit Cabinet if the prime minister did not change her plans for the Brexit backstop.

It was a gruelling House of Commons experience for May, who was grilled by all sides of the Brexit argument and reminded of how many factions she must please to have a chance of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament.

But, sensing more urgency in London, senior European Union officials said Brussels would "keep calm and carry on", ready to wait till December or even later to clinch a final agreement.

Regulatory and customs checks at hundreds of crossing points between Northern Ireland and the Republic would cause massive disruption to individuals and businesses.

As so often, I'm not sure anyone's much the wiser after Prime Minister's Questions - the prime minister restated her position without any signs of evolution, and rejected suggestions about customs unions and Norway options, saying they were counter to the expressed will of the British people in the referendum.

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