UK PM meets Macron ahead of Brexit talks

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

She said: 'We cannot find the money to fund our frontline police properly, we cannot find the £2 billion for the vulnerable on Universal Credit, but we can mysteriously find billions to bung to the European Union for the unnecessary extra year Clegg and Blair asked Barnier for to waylay Brexit'.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the summit also left him more optimistic than he'd been after a bad-tempered meeting last month and a negotiating crisis on Sunday.

But the bloc ruled not enough progress has been made and so shelved plans for a special summit to be held next month to sign off on a deal.

'There is a lot of hard work ahead, there will be more difficult moments as we enter the final stages of the talks, but I'm convinced we will secure a good deal that is in the interests of the United Kingdom and of the European Union, ' she said.

Speaking after Tusk and Juncker, May said Thursday that there would be more hard moments ahead as they reach the final stages of the talks, but added that she was confident in her ability to secure a good deal that is agreeable to all parties.

Britain officially is to leave the bloc in March and to have agreed to an exit deal well before then, but London and Brussels previously had agreed there would be a transition period to conclude at the end of 2020, by which time both sides hope some kind of trade agreement also would have been concluded.

Another big date arrives on January 21, when May faces a final deadline to send a Brexit deal to Parliament.

After talks stalled over the weekend, one of the bloc's negotiators told diplomats that Brussels had proposed extending the transition by a year to make its proposal for an Irish backstop - already ruled out by Britain - more palatable.

It emerged on Wednesday that Mr Barnier was ready to discuss a further year's extension to allow time to find a solution to keep the Irish border open.

Without consensus on the backstop, talks will need to turn to a no-deal scenario, where the United Kingdom dumps out of the European Union without any agreement in place.


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". Both sides agree there must be no hard border that could disrupt businesses and residents on both sides and undermine Northern Ireland's hard-won peace process.

The backstop would kick in if a future UK-EU trade deal or technological solution does not provide an alternative way to prevent customs checks infrastructure along the politically sensitive frontier.

Mr Dodds said: "Such an extension would cost United Kingdom billions of pounds, yet our fundamental problem with the European Union proposal remains".

Asked about the plan, a British official said there were no plans to propose a change to the transition. And the introduction of the future relationship.

May sidestepped the issue at her end of summit press conference, where she pointed to European Union expressions of goodwill as proof that a deal could be done.

An aide to Macron said he and Merkel walked back together to their hotel from the summit and when they got there he got a text from Bettel inviting him round the corner for a drink: "It was totally spur of the moment", the aide said.

Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament President, said: "I listened carefully to what May had to say".

"It's maybe more an emotional impression than a rational one but emotions matter in politics".

Mrs May stressed this would only be for "a matter of months" and is devised to help break the deadlock over agreeing a backstop solution for the Irish border issue.

She's found supporters to the idea of replacing the PM from Talkradio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer and Tim Montgomerie, a prominent grassroots Conservative blogger.

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