Europe Offers Britain an Olive Branch to Break Brexit Impasse

Theresa May makes a statement on Brexit negotiations

European Union leaders decided on Wednesday not to give the go-ahead for a special Brexit summit to be held in November, as sufficient progress has not been made over the Irish backstop issue.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium.

The idea, diplomats said, was being "tentatively explored".

"We are in a much better mood than after Salzburg", said Tusk, adding that his optimism was "maybe more emotional" than "rational".

It might be hard for May to convince her Cabinet and parliament of an extension of the transition period, however.

Will the proposal solve anything?

European Union leaders have recently suggested that the transition period, now due to end in December 2020, could be extended by a year to provide more time for a trade deal to be forged that would make the backstop unnecessary. But the problem is we can not have a border in Ireland between the Republic and the province [of Northern Ireland]. But they have yet to figure out how to do that once the U.K.is out of the EU's single market, which allows for the free movement of people, goods and services.

The problem is that these are two irreconcilable agreements. May's proposal to extend this period is therefore entirely sensible, even if the realisation that such an extension is needed has come very late in the process.

As the March 29 deadline for the UK's exit from the union looms, there's more uncertainty the ever.

"A further idea which has emerged - and it is only an idea at this stage - is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months and it would only be a matter of months", the email read.

The proposed 12-month extension would cost billions of pounds in EU fees and leave Britain under European rules for nearly six years after the referendum result.

A draft withdrawal text was agreed jointly in March, he said, which stated that the Irish backstop would have to work, and would apply unless and until a new agreement supersedes it.

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The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats said extending the transition was another "embarrassing climbdown" for May.

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 Brexit negotiations to a standstill.

Thank you for your feedback. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said "we need much time, much more time, and we continue to work in the next weeks".

Does not want to see a gap between transition period and future deal.

The implementation of the transition period is contingent on a withdrawal agreement being found, however.

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.

"Theresa May must now act in the national interest, not her party interest, and break the deadlock by delivering a deal that protects jobs and living standards".

When May first requested the transition period, she said it should be limited to a period of about two years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was optimistic that a deal could be struck to avoid the potentially catastrophic prospect of Britain crashing out without agreement.

A provisional deal collapsed on Sunday after the United Kingdom refused to accept the EU's proposal for Northern Ireland to remain in the single market and customs union as part of the "backstop" for preserving the frictionless Irish border.

Less than six months before Britain leaves the European Union in its biggest shift in policy for more than 40 years, Brexit talks have stalled over how to deal with their only land border between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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