Theresa May says 'maybe' to transition period extension — European Union summit

May faces showdown with EU leaders amid Brexit impasse                         Read more

Whether the extension is good for the country depends on your Brexit position: Remainers will be hoping the public mood will have shifted significantly towards staying in the European Union by the end of the transition period.

In a press conference at the end of the summit, Mrs May said good progress was being made on the UK's withdrawal agreement, but acknowledged that "a few, but considerable, outstanding issues" remained to be resolved.

Theresa May is suffering a major backlash from all wings of her party after telling European Union leaders she is willing to extend the Brexit transition period by up to 12 months in an attempt to unlock negotiations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May came under attack from across Britain's political spectrum Thursday after saying she's considering a European Union proposal that would keep the United Kingdom bound to the bloc's rules for more than two years after it leaves in March. "I remain confident of a good outcome", she added. Another Tory, Sarah Wollaston, tweeted: "Given Govt claims restoring'control of our laws' to Parliament is a red line #Brexit priority, MPs won't put up with an underhand attempt to block the #MeaningfulVote they repeatedly promised on the final deal".

The next official European Union summit is scheduled for December, just over 3 1/2 months before Britain ceases to be an European Union member.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in words later cited by Mrs May, said: "Where there's a will, there should be a way, and normally there is a way".

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.

Lidington rejected claims that an extension would cost Britain more than $13.1 billion U.S. in payments to the European Union in order to stay in the bloc's single market and customs union for another year.

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.

"At the very beginning she threw away the one negotiating lever that she had, namely the £39 billion that they (the EU) want to get their hands on", Mr Wilson said.

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

"Mrs. May recalled the importance of a UK-wide customs territory".

Asked about the plan, a British official said there were no plans to propose a change to the transition.

"A 20-month transition period would never be sufficient", said Georgina Wright, a Brexit expert and research associate at Chatham House in London. The EU has also insisted on a backstop that would keep Northern Ireland inside the single market after 2020 if no deal was reached.

It is created to ensure that whatever happens in talks on future trade there is no need to impose checks at the border.

May also met with Juncker and European Union council president Donald Tusk earlier on Wednesday. He acknowledged the feeling "may be a more emotional impression than a rational one".

Addressing the summit, Theresa May said there was a "lot of hard work ahead" and "difficult moments" as negotiators enter the final stage of talks.

Talks on finalising the UK's withdrawal agreement and a political declaration on future trade relations with the EU have been blocked by failure to agree on a backstop to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the event that an agreement on future EU-UK relations can not be struck.

The Taoiseach said he and Mrs May were "in broad agreement" on the idea that the backstop could not be time-limited.

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