With negotiations over Britain’s withdrawal from the EU at an impasse, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May arrived at what was supposed to be a climactic EU leaders’ summit with no new proposals to unlock the vexed Irish border question.
We’ll keep following the developments on the second day of the EU council meeting.
- May and Corbyn spar at Question Time at Commons
- Blair, Clegg and Heseltine write op-ed urging for space and time for second referendum
- No break-through is expected this week
- EU willing to extend transition period
- Angela Merkel says Germany is having a no-deal Brexit plan
- France publishes no deal law on website
- Theresa May rejected an EU offer designed to rescue a Brexit deal because it would add billions more to the £39bn “divorce bill”, The Independent has learned.
- Britain’s parliament must provide unequivocal approval for any Brexit deal the government reaches with the European Union, or risk creating uncertainty for businesses and citizens, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said.
- Parliament president Antonio Tajani says Theresa May was “neutral” over the possibility of extending the post-Brexit transition period from two to three years
- Chancellor Kurz, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, says it’s up to the UK to find a away to resolve the impasse in talks.
- Theresa May has confirmed that she is considering asking the EU for an extended Brexit transition period in a bid to break the deadlock in talks.
- Theresa May has come under attack from Tory colleagues after conceding the UK may have to remain tied to EU rules and laws beyond December 2020, in a bid to solve the Irish border issue.
- The EU is ready to extend the post-Brexit transition period if the UK wants, Donald Tusk has said.
The EU is ready to extend the post-Brexit transition period if the UK wants, Donald Tusk has said.
The current length of the transition period – designed to smooth the path from Brexit to the UK and EU’s future permanent relationship – is 21 months.
But with the two sides failing to reach a deal yet, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested extending this transition period “for a few months”.
Some Brexit campaigners oppose the UK being tied to EU rules for longer.
And an EU source told the BBC there would have to be “financial implications” if the UK did extend the transition period.
Theresa May has confirmed that she is considering asking the EU for an extended Brexit transition period in a bid to break the deadlock in talks.
The Prime Minister is understood to have raised the possibility of a longer period in meetings with EU leaders yesterday, but Downing Street was previously tight-lipped about the exchanges – which are likely to enrage Tory eurosceptics.
On her way into the second day of the summit Ms May told reporters that the option had emerged to extend the controversial period, but that it would only be for “a matter of months”.
Theresa May has come under attack from Tory colleagues after conceding the UK may have to remain tied to EU rules and laws beyond December 2020, in a bid to solve the Irish border issue.
The idea was quickly rejected back at home. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said the idea was “unwise”, and it was the wrong time to “take the pressure off” in the negotiation.
Former Minister Nick Boles said “I’m afraid she is losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion, people who have been supportive of her throughout this process.”
As Politico reports the British government is, “though, now “ready to consider” the notion of a longer transition period — something May indicated in a 15-minute, pre-dinner address to EU27 leaders, a senior EU official said. That in itself is a remarkable turnaround after months of insisting that just under two years was sufficient amid Brexiteer angst that Britain could not tolerate being subject to EU laws (and financial demands) for a moment longer.”
The biggest issue is whether such a position would help the negotiations or complicate them further by enflaming Brexiteers back home, and it does not solve the fundamental problem in the negotiations or bring a solution closer.
In Wednesday we learnt how Theresa May rejected an EU offer designed to rescue a Brexit deal because it would add billions more to the £39bn “divorce bill”. We also learnt that the EU expressed its willingness to extend transition period. In the meantime German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany is having a no-deal Brexit plan while France published no deal law on website.
The possibility of an extension wasn’t welcomed back home, with the main UK newspapers describing this possibility as an extension of Brexit Limbo and Brextra Time.
Apart from the tough nuts to unlock in Brussels, it is evident that there are even bigger issues within its government and home.
The Guardian provides a review of the main headlines in the British media. The Daily Mail is scathing: “Another year in Brexit limbo?”, asks the paper’s shrill headline, reporting that the “PM ‘could make UK wait even longer’ to avoid no-deal cliff edge (but we’d have to keep paying EU billions)”. The Mail says delaying leaving the bloc until the end of 2021 means it won’t happen until “five and a half years after the vote to leave”. Also furious is the Sun, which goes with the headline “Brextra time!”, saying “UK could be under control of EU for one more year”.
Their lead picture is of Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May greeting one another with a kiss, with the fairly dramatic caption: “Is this the kiss of death?” The FT also has the kiss on its front page, with a caption “Kiss and tell”. But its main story is about the US threatening EU banks if Brussels refuses to water down post-Brexit plans to oversee clearing houses. The i’s headline coveys the news without the outrage: “May open to Brexit extension in bid to save deal”. The paper also reports that UK citizens may need visas to visit France. The Daily Telegraph’s headline is “May offers to extend transition by a year”, saying that the PM is “playing for time”. The Guardian leads on Brexit but takes a different tack, focusing on Donald Tusk’s demand that May provide “new facts” to help unblock Brexit talks.
Wednesday 17th October
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Brussels where this evening she is expected to address her fellow EU leaders before they meet without her to consider their next move in the Brexit negotiations.
Parliament president Antonio Tajani says Theresa May was “neutral” over the possibility of extending the post-Brexit transition period from two to three years.
“It’s a possibility,” said Mr Tajani. “She said there was this hypothesis and she will evaluate it. She underlined the importance of the issue but she didn’t say anything in terms of content.
“She said we will keep under consideration the issue of the transition period but she did not say anything in favour or against the three-year period.”
Chancellor Kurz, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, says it’s up to the UK to find a away to resolve the impasse in talks.
Arriving for the summit, he said Theresa May needed to “make some adjustments” to her position and “if there’s a small step in the right direction today I would judge that a success”.
Theresa May rejected an EU offer designed to rescue a Brexit deal because it would add billions more to the £39bn “divorce bill”, The Independent has learned.
Brussels floated a one-year extension to the post-departure transition period, until the end of 2021, to make it less likely the Irish border “backstop” would be needed – and, therefore, easier for the UK to accept.
But an extension would require paying billions extra to the EU, when the exit bill has already angered Tory MPs, prompting the prime minister to stamp on the idea.
An EU source told The Independent that the UK’s response to the offer, made during last week’s aborted talks, suggested the “financial implications would be complicated”.
Britain’s parliament must provide unequivocal approval for any Brexit deal the government reaches with the European Union, or risk creating uncertainty for businesses and citizens, Brexit minister Dominic Raab said.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Wednesday much more time was needed to secure an exit deal for Britain, but that officials would work calmly and patiently in the coming weeks.
Theresa May has insisted her Brexit proposals are still alive. Jeremy Corbyn said the government was “too weak and too divided” to come up with a solution to solve the problem.
Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and Michael Heseltine are among those behind an op-ed published in newspapers across Europe this morning, urging the EU to give Britain “space and time” for another Brexit referendum.
They have gone out in papers in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Switzerland, with the message that “there can be no denying that a strong EU will remain in the UK’s interests”.
The former politicians write: “As leaders from different political traditions in Britain we have disagreed about much in the past, but what we have in common – our support for democracy, the rule of law, free expression and free trade – are also fundamental European values and they are all worth defending.”
No breakthrough is expected this week, but it remains to be seen whether the EU will formally schedule a summit for mid November in the hope that the Brexit deal can be finalised then – or whether it will decide to wait until further progress has been made. This morning Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said a final deal may not be agreed until the EU’s December summit.
The EU is willing to extend the transition period after the UK leaves the bloc, Ireland’s foreign minister has confirmed, but warned Britain must not renege on previous agreements to prevent a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. The confirmation came as the environment secretary, Michael Gove, said a Brexit deal may not be in place until the December summit of EU leaders.
Angela Merkel has admitted for the first time that the German government is making contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. The German chancellor said that her government had started to make “suitable preparations” for the possibility of Britain and the EU failing to reach a final agreement.
French Government publishes its draft No Deal law on website of French Senate: “reestablishment of checks of goods and passengers” & “restoration of veterinary, sanitary, phytosanitary, safety controls & customs formalities”
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