Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

European Union extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks

European Union extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks

"Crucially it is clear that we want to move forward together, but on a couple of issues, differences do remain, which require further negotiation and consultation", said May before heading to meet President of the European Council Donald Tusk nearly one-hour late than scheduled.

Speaking after a meeting of backbench MPs following the failure of talks in Brussels to reach a deal on the Border, Jacob Rees-Mogg said Conservatives agreed with the DUP.

May made her entrance at European Union headquarters around the same time, smiling and courteous, as she shook hands with Juncker and both went inside the European Union headquarters for talsk.

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Nadine Dorries, a member of Britain's ruling Conservative Party who supports Brexit, said May should tell European Union officials time is running out to move talks on to the next phase.

The question of how to maintain a soft Irish border had emerged as the key sticking point to getting agreement from the European Union to move on to phase two in the Brexit negotiations.

While Prime Minister Theresa May has previously insisted the entire United Kingdom will leave the single market, European Council president Donald Tusk made clear that Brexit talks cannot move on to trade issues unless the United Kingdom can satisfy Dublin there will be no return to a strictly-controlled border in Ireland.

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Juncker described May as a "tough negotiator", and insisted that talks had not failed. The lack of progress so far has raised concerns that Britain may not have a deal by the time it officially leaves on March 29, 2019. "But on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

Guy Verhofstadt added that a financial settlement on the divorce was as good as done - "it seems, yes" - while the talks on citizens' rights and Ireland's border still had outstanding issues to solve. But then Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May's minority government, announced it wouldn't support any deal that made special rules for Northern Ireland.

"I hope we are in a place this evening where Irish people north and south will get reassurance from the wording that is very close to being finalised now".

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May depends in parliament on a pro-British party in Northern Ireland that rejects any deal which would divide the province from the British mainland. A British spokesman said: "With plenty of discussions still to go, Monday will be an important staging post on the road to the crucial December Council". "Getting closer to sufficient progress", he said.

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