Published: Sat, October 20, 2018

Theresa May 'humiliated' by lack of breakthrough at Brexit summit

Theresa May 'humiliated' by lack of breakthrough at Brexit summit

Prime Minister Theresa May has not ruled out extra time to negotiate Britain's exit from the EU.

But no deal was reached, and the leaders of the 27 remaining European Union states decided not to call a special Brexit summit in November after chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he needed "much more time" for talks.

Tajani said May told him she would consider it but gave no indication of whether she favoured such an extension.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the final press conference during the Euro Summit in Brussels, Belgium.

In his response to that speech, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party said, "This really is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day". "The key element is a British political compromise".

On the Irish border issue Tajani said, "We want a flexible border and to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, but we also want to protect our agri-food sector, industry and health".

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".

On Thursday the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) said the fears were "very real".

Addressing EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar related the story of an IRA bomb attack at a customs post in Newry, Co Down, in 1972, in which four customs officials, two lorry drivers and three IRA men died.

"The last stage will need courage, trust and leadership on both sides", she said.

Leaders have not yet decided on whether to call for an extra summit in November in order to close the deal, or to discuss further preparation plans in case an agreement is not reached.

A DUP MP has said the prime minister "must be mad" after Theresa May suggested a delay to the UK's departure from the European Union in order to deal with the Irish border issue.

"A longer transition [is] not an alternative to a legally-binding backstop..."

But the two sides disagree on how to resolve the issue. And he added "this prolongation of the transition period probably will happen".

But several European Union nations expressed reservations that any extension would resolve the Irish issue, with both sides wedded to their positions.

The backstop is a proposed mechanism to keep the United Kingdom in the EU's Customs Union after Brexit - essentially precluding the country from taking back control of its global trade policy - in order to prevent a hard economic border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland.

Nick Boles, who up until now has been relatively supportive of May, said the news had pushed Tories "close to despair".

The Irish and the European Union will also still need the backstop in the withdrawal agreement, which must be signed before the business of the trade deal can get under way.

"But what we want to do is to work to get through that so that we can actually get to the deal that I believe will be good for the British people". "But it's maybe a more emotional impression than a rational one".

May conceded: "There will be more hard moments as we enter the final stages of the talks, but I'm convinced we will secure a good deal".

However, May's idea for an extension to the transition period was lambasted by Gabi Zimmer, GUE/NGL leader and member of the Parliament's Brexit Steering Group.

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