May and European Union consider extending transition to break Brexit impasse
- Author: Joey Payne Oct 19, 2018,
Oct 19, 2018, 8:49
Tusk advised May that "creative" thinking from Britain was required to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, the issue that has brought divorce negotiations to a standstill.
The so-called "backstop" will apply if there is no proper EU-UK trade deal post Brexit. With the November meeting canceled, the next European Union summit would come in December - a session that was timed to give all the legislatures involved enough time to ratify a deal.
May was also due to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council president Donald Tusk.
But Mr Barnier made clear no breakthrough was now expected, saying that "much more time" was needed to bridge differences between the two sides, and promising to "continue the work in the next weeks calmly and patiently".
Britain says it has not asked for an extension - but didn't rule it out Wednesday.
Unlike the special protocol on Gibraltar, which will be annexed to the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement, the memorandums are not an essential part of the Brexit deal.
Theresa May is facing an angry backlash from Tory MPs on all sides, as well as her Northern Irish DUP allies, over the suggestion the transition could last longer, extending beyond December 2020.
Arriving for a second day of talks, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a "backstop" plan to avoid frontier checks with Ireland if and until a new trade deal could be signed that resolves the issue.
"It is not the best idea the two of us had but it is giving us some room to prepare the future relationship in the best way possible".
The ongoing Brexit talks will explore extending the transition period, during which nothing will change after Brexit in March 2019.
"We of course are working to ensure not just that we are able to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, were such a gap in time to emerge, but to ensure that the implementation period comes to an end in December 2020, because we are able to put the future relationship into place at the end of the implementation period and ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland". What's even worse is she is now going to put us in a position that, six years after voting to leave the European Union, we will still be in the EU.
He added: "No Prime Minister should negotiate a deal that threatens jobs".
But several European Union nations expressed reservations that any extension would resolve the Irish issue, with both sides wedded to their positions.
But officials said she made no such offer, instead pointing to progress made so far and urging them to have "courage" to find a deal.
Britain was ready to work with the European Union to find "a creative way out of this dilemma", she said.
The extension idea angered pro-Brexit U.K. politicians, who saw it as an attempt to bind Britain to the bloc indefinitely. They do not know themselves what they want.
Still some issues remaining on backstop.
The attendees were Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and perhaps most worryingly for the prime minister, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
However, any extension would rile the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg as it would mean the continuation of free movement and Britain paying billions more pounds into EU coffers as the United Kingdom effectively remained in the European single market and customs union.