Sunday, 25 August, 2019

European Union calls for new proposals from Theresa May to break Brexit deadlock

BRUSSELS BELGIUM- JUNE 28 British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the Council of the European Union on the first day of the European Council leaders' summit Image Mrs May will brief European leaders on Wednesday
Patty Aguilar | 17 October, 2018, 18:01

European Union and UK negotiators are considering the idea of extending the two-year Brexit transition by one year to provide more time to develop a temporary customs arrangement between the European Union and UK, RTÉ News understands.

The PM resisted the temptation, but she can expect this offer to be repeated as often as the calls for a second referendum, at PMQs yet to come.

The EU is considering allowing Britain to leave the EU over a longer period in return for agreeing to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

At present the two sides are proposing that Britain remain inside the European Union single market and bound by its rules from the time it leaves the bloc in March until December 2020, to give time for new trade relations to be set up.

European Union leaders were converging on Brussels Wednesday for what had been billed as a "moment of truth" Brexit summit but which now holds little promise for a breakthrough.

She is playing the most complex game of three-dimensional chess as she conducts parallel negotiations with Brussels, her Cabinet, her own party and now the DUP.

"The PM set out her position on Monday, Donald Tusk has set out his views and the PM looks forward to face to face discussion", was Number 10's response to the request from the EU Council President for "concrete proposals" and "new facts" following the unravelling of a technical deal on Sunday over the issue of the Irish backstop.

"We want to secure a deal as quickly as possible".

With hopes of a November summit fading, focus has turned to the next scheduled meeting of the European Council in December as the last chance to secure a deal and get it ratified by the United Kingdom and European parliaments before Britain leaves in March 2019.

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Back in Brussels, a stern Tusk said he had "no grounds for optimism" based on a report Tuesday from Barnier and May's appearance in parliament on Monday.

But despite intense speculation over a possible walkout, no minister at Cabinet indicated they might consider resigning from the Government over Brexit.

Mrs May replied: "He asked me if the Chequers plan was dead, the answer is no".

It was a gruelling House of Commons experience for May, who was grilled by all sides of the Brexit argument and reminded of how many factions she must please to have a chance of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament.

The Prime Minister has had a tough few days trying to convince her senior ministers of her "temporary" customs arrangement.

The prime minister has refused to accept European Union demands for an indefinite Brexit backstop but pro-Leave ministers are still anxious by the direction of talks.

As the Financial Times says, there have been attempts by Michel Barnier to find a device to provide comfort to Theresa May that the Northern Ireland backstop she hates would never be implemented.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warned that a "disorderly Brexit" would slow the European Union economy as a whole and have a knock-on effect on US banks.

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