European Union shelves plans for Brexit divorce deal summit citing lack of progress

A dog wears a banner during the'Wooferendum march in central London where dog owners and their pets gather to demand a new Bre

"They are trying to leave this so late that they can credibly say there is no alternative but a "no-deal" Brexit, and most people agree that would be chaos", Mr. Boles told the BBC.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier addressed her fellow leaders, indicating that she could accept extending the post-Brexit transition phase to take the heat out the deadlocked issue of the Irish border.

But the Prime Minister said she does not expect any extension of the so-called "transition" to Brexit to be needed, because she still hopes to conclude a deal on the UK's future trade and security relationship with the European Union by its scheduled end-date of December 2020.

An further year could help the United Kingdom and the EU negotiate a future trade deal, and could ease the burden for May on agreeing to a so-called backstop on the Irish border issue that would keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and the single market for goods.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her closest advisers were on Thursday contemplating how to scale the "brick wall" that is preventing a Brexit deal being agreed with Brussels.

He says "we are in a much better mood than after Salzburg".

Leo Varadkar reiterated Ireland's position on the backstop, which he said must be legally operable and would prevent a hard border emerging between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

At the meeting in Brussels, EU leaders decided that not enough progress has been made in negotiations to warrant calling a one-off summit in November for a divorce deal to be signed. There's no guarantee the trade deal could be finalized in time and the EU would expect the U.K.to sign up to some kind of customs union.

United Kingdom officials stressed that the Prime Minister was not proposing any extension to the period already agreed.

She also faces a rebellion from her parliamentary partners, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which has threatened to vote against her government's budget if she concedes to the EU's demands over the backstop.

"I am going to ask Prime Minister May whether she has concrete proposals on how to break the impasse", EU President Donald Tusk declared.

The French Government yesterday published draft no-deal legislation that could require British citizens to obtain a visa before travelling to France following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

While the Irish border issue is holding up a comprehensive Brexit deal, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says the status of Gibraltar won't be an obstacle.

At the end of an inconclusive European Union summit, May said there would be "tough negotiations" but declared that Britain and the bloc could strike a divorce deal that worked for both sides.

This offer would not in itself resolve the back-stop issue, which must be settled in the Brexit treaty that must be ratified before March to avoid a damaging "no deal" scenario.

The possibility of extending the transition period, set to end by December 2020, was also mooted at the Brussels summit.

"After another wasted European Union summit in which Theresa May yet again failed to lay out the UK's position on the Irish backstop, the European Union negotiators need to wise up to the fact that they may have fallen for the oldest trick in the book".

At a three-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, which included ministers with reservations about her strategy, May said a deal was possible if they all stood together.

Leaders, who made an effort to send positive messages on their way in, listened to May for about 15 minutes before having dinner without her.

With a crucial vote in parliament on any deal, May, who lost her Conservative Party's majority in an election past year, risks a damaging defeat. 'But only so many - and we have looked at all of them.

With divorce talks stuck, the bloc has suggested extending that period, to give more time to strike a trade deal that ensures a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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