No progress at Brexit summit, talks continue

UK finance giants are stepping up moves to shift operations and staff to the EU amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit MPs have been warned

UK finance giants are stepping up moves to shift operations and staff to the EU amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit MPs have been warned

Some even fear a return to the violence seen during The Troubles if fortified installations returned to the border, with Northern Ireland's top police officer warning earlier this year they would be seen as "fair game" for targeting by dissident republicans.

Leaders have not yet decided on whether to call for an extra summit in November in order to close the deal, or to discuss further preparation plans in case an agreement is not reached.

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

Arriving for the talks, he said "we need time, we need much more time" for talks, vowing to work "calmly and patiently" for a deal in the coming weeks.

Britain says it has not asked for an extension - but didn't rule it out Wednesday.

The idea of extending the transition would be to give more time to negotiate a deal on future relations and find a formula to defuse the Irish border question.

May will rejoin her European Union counterparts on Thursday as the focus shifts to a summit with Asian leaders, including China's Premier Li Keqiang and the prime ministers of Japan and Russian Federation.

Negotiations are at an impasse over the issue of a legal "backstop" to keep open the border between British Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, an European Union member, if and until a wider trade deal can be signed that avoids the need for frontier checks.

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

The comments come as London is nearing a March 2019 deadline to leave the EU.

Pro-EU politicians, meanwhile, said the proposal was another sign of May's weak bargaining hand and an attempt to stall for time.

The possibility that May will agree to a longer transition period has prompted renewed Conservative rebel calls for her to go.

"We of course are working to ensure not just that we are able to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, were such a gap in time to emerge, but to ensure that the implementation period comes to an end in December 2020, because we are able to put the future relationship into place at the end of the implementation period and ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland".

Thousands expected to march on Westminster this weekend calling for a so-called "People's Vote" on the final Brexit deal reached by the PM.

Underscoring the newfound sense of non-urgency, Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz of Austria, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, even spoke of the "coming weeks and months" to get a deal and sought to impose a soothing calm. They do not know themselves what they want.

"But I believe everybody around the table wants to get a deal we can achieve that deal".

However, while May's refusal to make more concessions to the European Union in talks delayed a revolt in Westminster, the prime minister's leadership remains precarious, with senior Cabinet ministers last night openly meeting to discuss how to undermine her plans.

But with Brexit talks at an impasse, the bloc has suggested extending that period, to give more time to strike a trade deal that ensures the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains friction-free - the main sticking point to a Brexit deal.

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.

"My working assumption is not that we will have a no-deal, a no-deal would be unsafe for Britain and the European Union".

Tusk broke off the meeting, after nobody responded to the British Prime Minister.

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