European Union leaders gather for 'moment of truth' Brexit summit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

"I think we are both of the understanding that this is an insurance policy and obviously we want to address all of these issues in a future relationship", she said.

A United Kingdom source said the Prime Minister issued an appeal "to find a creative way out of this dilemma" on the Irish border and reiterated she was "fully committed to finding a legally operative backstop" that guarantees no hard border in Ireland.

European Union diplomats said May appeared to show a greater understanding of the EU's concerns, including Ireland's requirement for a "backstop" insurance clause that would mean there would beno hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"She acknowledged that there were a few significant issues that were still outstanding, but said that the very real sense she had from leaders around the table at the council was that they wanted to reach a deal as soon as possible this autumn", a No 10 spokesman said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday she is considering a European Union proposal that would keep Britain bound to the bloc's rules for more than two years after it leaves, and idea that angers her pro-Brexit critics in the United Kingdom.

Less than six months before Britain quits the European Union in its biggest shift in policy for more than 40 years, the two sides are at odds over how to deal with their only land border, between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

But, more importantly for Mrs May, he also offered her some political top cover against the cries of betrayal coming from some Brexiteers, pointing out that in September last year during her Florence speech the prime minister talked about a transition period of "around two years" - the current transition proposal is 21 months, leaving Mrs May some space to move.

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A spokesperson for the Alliance Party said: "We are disappointed by the prime minister's refusal to engage with the remain parties collectively".

She said Mrs May had turned down a request for talks with the leaders of Sinn Fein, the nationalist SDLP, cross-community Alliance Party and the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson called on the European Union and Mrs May to "take stock" on the issue and added "that extending the transition period is not ideal".

Mrs May declined to put any fixed date on the possible extension to the UK's transition period, which she has said could last "a matter of months" into 2021. But the problem is we can not have a border in Ireland between the Republic and the province [of Northern Ireland].

He says Conservatives are "close to despair" over how the negotiations are going.

The French Government yesterday published draft no-deal legislation that could require British citizens to obtain a visa before travelling to France following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

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 divorce negotiations to a standstill.

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For many who campaigned to leave the European Union, the idea of continuing to pay into the bloc well beyond Britain leaves in March next year is anathema.

That could trigger a leadership contest, a so-called no deal Brexit and even a new election.

As leaders from different political traditions in Britain we have disagreed about much in the past, but what we have in common- our support for democracy, the rule of law, free expression and free trade - are also fundamental European values and they are all worth defending.

With talks on the vexing issue of the Irish border deadlocked, both sides said they needed several more weeks or months to work on an agreement. They do not know themselves what they really want.

"She accepted the dictates as to how the negotiations would take place and the sequencing of them by the European Union".

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is throwing his weight behind the idea of extending a transition period as Britain leaves the bloc, calling it "a good idea".

"She said that her aim was to wrap this up in November", one of the business people listening to the call said.

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Many EU leaders "see the delays as a negotiating tactic by London to try to force concessions", Nelson reported.

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