No breakthrough but new Brexit headache for Theresa May — EU summit

19 Octobre, 2018, 10:58 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk prior to a meeting in Brussels Belgium Oct 16 2018. Olivier Hoslet  Pool via Reuters

They insisted Britain must avoid the "purgatory of perpetual membership of the EU's customs union".

"His comments were followed by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who tweeted that he was ready to resume the talks, but warned: "[An] orderly Brexit must include a solid, all-weather backstop to avoid a hard border in IE/NI".

"A further idea that has emerged, and it is an idea at this stage, is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months, and it would only be a matter months", May told reporters. Tajani said May told him she would consider it but gave no indication of whether she favoured such an extension.

In an interview with The House magazine, the former Army officer said he would not have stood as an MP "if the situation was like it is now" and that he was no longer sure that his "set of values and ethos" were still "aligned with the Conservative Party".

Mrs May did not come forward with the new "concrete proposals" on the border issue which European Council president Donald Tusk has said are needed to break the deadlock.

The party's Europe spokesman added: "Rather than attempting to fudge her way through the negotiations, the PM should be using these meetings to constructively engage with our European Union neighbours and to bring forward serious plans".

Pro-EU politicians, meanwhile, said the transition period proposal was another sign of May's weak bargaining hand and an attempt to stall for time.

This week's Brussels summit had been set as the deadline for a draft deal, but European Union leaders have instead been left to contemplate the potentially catastrophic scenario of Britain crashing out in March without any agreement. Any deal agreed in Brussels needs to win approval in Parliament, where May doesn't have a majority and faces opposition on all sides.

May says this new would destroy the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, by putting a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland.

A senior Labour source said, "We've not called for any extension and the only reason it's being discussed is because of the abject failure of the government's negotiating".

The latest impasse in the talks has prompted many Brexit supporters and even critics of Britain's departure to air their frustration over an exit which some Brexit campaigners had said would be the easiest deal ever.

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Despite the lack of progress, the mood music at the summit was positive. All of those mileposts are on the drive toward March 29, when Britain will officially exit the European Union, triggering a transition period that will last through 2020. A deal must be sealed soon so parliaments have time to give their verdict on it.

David Mundell has told the Prime Minister he could not accept longer Brexit transition.

"There's no need to dramatize matters".

"It is always the case in negotiations that they are tense and hard and challenging at the end".

Earlier, May had urged her fellow leaders to work with her to find a "creative way out of this dilemma" on Ireland, a British official said. Britain would have to negotiate this but it has been estimated at anywhere between £10bn and £17bn.

"We both agreed it should be temporary, that it should only apply unless and until - it can't have an expiry date". The future U.K. -EU border in Ireland has been the main sticking point in the talks.

If a withdrawal agreement is reached, a transition period would kick in after next March, which has been planned to end in December 2020.

Britain says it has not asked for an extension - but didn't rule it out Wednesday.

In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement brought peace after 40 years of violence and saw the demilitarisation of the border between the North and the Republic, removing checkpoints so people and goods could move freely between the two.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, traditionally an ally of May's in the bloc, said "we have the instruments on the table and it should be doable". "That is the problem".


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