Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Where do the EU's 27 countries stand on the Brexit deal?

Theresa May Why Theresa May can't agree to EU's idea of extending Brexit transition by a year
Kenny Thornton | 17 October, 2018, 19:59

May will address the other 27 European Union national leaders at a summit before they sit down to dinner without her. Officials said they expected the leaders to tell May they have little more to offer since talks stalled on Sunday and they will step up preparations for Britain to drop out of the bloc with no deal.

On Monday, Mrs May insisted that a Brexit deal is still "achievable", despite deadlock in negotiations over the thorny issue of the Irish backstop.

Mrs May won strong support from Cabinet colleagues as she set out two key "sticking points" preventing the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement.

May has insisted she will not agree to a "backstop" which would see an open Irish border that keeps Northern Ireland within European Union rules.

He needs that backstop, apart from anything else, because her preferred backstop of the whole United Kingdom staying in a single European Union customs territory requires a treaty change whose execution is intrinsically uncertain.

The mammoth three-hour meeting came a day after eight Brexit-supporting ministers took the unusual step of meeting over pizzas in the office of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom to discuss their concerns about the PM's stance.

Britain's trade minister will "categorically" deny on Wednesday that the government plans to lower foods standards to win trade deals after Brexit. Well, the issue here is all about sentiment and more specifically, deadlines.

"Does Mrs Foster represent the views of the DUP when she calls for "cool heads in what is a very febrile atmosphere", is it the DUP's Westminster leader when he talks of crippling the government's domestic agenda, which I assume could include health, welfare, business, defence, or is it an anonymous senior party official who speaks of "squeezing their b***s until their ears bleed"?"

But she suggests it should only be in place until the end of December 2021 - something Brussels has rejected, saying any fallback plan can not be time-limited.

White House jumps on Morrison's Israel gaff
He is also questioned Australia's position in the Iran nuclear deal. But Morrison denied the United States influenced his announcement.

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph, former foreign secretary Lord Hague said any challenge to the PMs' authority would be highly damaging at a critical time in the negotiations.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire optimistically declared "we are not far from a deal" on the morning of the summit. "This is going to be a hard time, but the whole Cabinet is digging in to get the best deal for this country".

"So the prime minister has a choice, she can continue to put the Tory party's interest first or she can listen to unions, businesses and put the interests of the people of Britain first".

Theresa May faces a Brexit showdown with restless Cabinet ministers on Tuesday morning.

Mrs May will give the other 27 Council member states an update on negotiations on Wednesday.

"We will take this time, calmly and seriously, to find this global agreement in the next weeks", he said.

Merkel told the Bundestag lower house of parliament in Berlin that all members of the euro zone were responsible for their own economic and budget policy.

But both London and Brussels have pledged to avoid any physical infrastructure, or "hard border", anxious that it could upset the delicate peace process that ended decades of violence between Protestant supporters of British rule over the province, and Irish Catholics nationalists, who believe in a united Ireland.

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