At Brussels summit, Spain’s PM is hopeful of progress on Gibraltar

Skating Minister Robert Walker's legacy is about much more than mouse mats and mugs

Skating Minister Robert Walker's legacy is about much more than mouse mats and mugs

"Support for Michel Barnier [EU negotiator] to continue the negotiations is strong, support for Ireland and the Irish backstop is still very strong", she claimed - although some countries such as Poland and Hungary have suggested they are concerned Brussels is pushing for too many concessions and could damage EU member-states if it fails to offer Britain a comprehensive free trade agreement.

Still some issues remaining on backstop.

While it could help May sell a deal at home, it won't remove the need to accept the most controversial part of the EU's proposal - that in a last-resort situation, Northern Ireland could be split off from the rest of Britain.

"A further idea which has emerged - and it is only 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 of months", the email read.

The matter could be pushed until December and the European Union may use the November summit to discuss the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Mrs May said that the option of an extension of the transition had been floated as a way to bridge any gap between the end of 2020 and the start of a deal on the future EU/UK relationship, to ensure there was no hard border in Ireland during this time.

"There are issues remaining around the backstop", Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters on Thursday, referring to the debate over how to treat Ireland and Northern Ireland when the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Eurosceptics in May's Conservative Party are likely to accuse her of delaying Brexit, and will balk at the prospect of Britain continuing to pay about 10 billion euros (S$15.8 billion) a year into the EU's budget.

After one-on-one meetings with Tusk, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, May will brief her 27 European colleagues before leaving the EU leaders to discuss Brexit over dinner without her.

Barnier said "we need time, we need much more time" for talks as he arrived to brief leaders, vowing to work "calmly and patiently" for a deal in the coming weeks.

Barnier told reporters that negotiators needed "much more time" to reach a deal.

"Theresa May, during her speech, said it's possible to achieve an agreement also on a transition period, but not with a clear position on the timing".

That they're trying to leave this so late that they can then credibly say there is no alternative but a no-deal Brexit and most people agree that would be chaos.

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 taoiseach said he and the British prime minister were "in broad agreement" on the idea that the backstop could not be time-limited.

Both sides stress that there was progress on other unresolved issues, such as how the withdrawal agreement could be governed, and any role for the European Court of Justice, and the mutual recognition of Geographical Indications, such as Champagne, and Welsh Caerphilly.

"Unless she can give a date when we will leave the European Union and ALL its major institutions she cannot claim to have fulfilled the referendum vote", it said in an editorial.

And the Financial Times says one of the US's top market regulators has threatened to stop European banks from using American futures markets if the EU refuses to water down post-Brexit plans to oversee clearing houses.

She added that 28 months after the Brexit referendum, in June 2016, London had still not explained clearly how it wants to leave the EU.

"Today, we do not know what they want", she said.

Asked about the plan, a British official said there were no plans to propose a change to the transition.

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