EU leaders prepared to extend UK's Brexit transition period

The European Union said Thursday it was ready to extend the length of the transition period designed to smoo...

Posted: Oct 19, 2018 11:30 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2018 11:30 AM

The European Union said Thursday it was ready to extend the length of the transition period designed to smooth the UK's exit from the 28-nation bloc next year.

The original plan is for a 21-month period starting March 30, 2019, as soon as the UK has left.

Brexit

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Donald Tusk

Europe

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Political Figures - Intl

United Kingdom

Theresa May

But with the two sides failing to come to an agreement on how the new relationship will work, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed extending this arrangement "for a few months."

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels following a summit that was dominated by the Brexit issue, Donald Tusk, President of the EU's intergovernmental body, the European Council, said the bloc's leaders had not discussed the period of transition at the meeting, but said it was unlikely to be opposed.

"If the UK decided an extension of the transition period would be helpful to reach a deal, I am sure the leaders would be ready to consider it positively."

Tusk nevertheless confirmed that insufficient progress had been made over the past two days to merit another more conclusive summit next month for final agreement on the terms of the deal, as previously planned.

"I stand ready to convene a European Council on Brexit, if and when the EU negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made," Tusk said. "And, we should be clear that as for now, not enough progress has been made."

But both Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck an optimistic note, saying that a Brexit deal is closer.

"I feel today we are closer to final solutions and the deal, but it's maybe a more emotional impression than a rational one. As you know emotions matter in politics," said Tusk.

Tusk said EU leaders had nevertheless agreed to continue the Brexit talks after hearing from May.

Speaking after Tusk, May said Thursday there would be more difficult moments ahead as they reached the final stages of the talks, but added that she was confident in her ability to secure a good deal agreeable to all parties.

"We hope extended transition will not be needed," she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was more optimistic. "We have been able to reach agreement to a very large degree," she said.

"Time is of the essence, but still we do not have a solution on all fronts, for example we still have to deal with the Irish situation, there is still no really satisfactory answer to this; this cannot be completely separated from the question of what our relationship is going to look like in the future."

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in five and a half months but so far there has been no agreement on how that should be done, and how 45 years of common legislation in everything from trade to pesticides should be untangled.

The thorniest issue of all is the question of Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but shares a border with the Irish Republic that is currently open to goods and people. Neither the UK nor Ireland want to change that situation but the EU is insisting that once the UK is out of the EU some form of border controls should be established.

With time running out, the fear is the UK could crash out of the EU with no deal on vitally important issues like tariffs and trade.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to march in London on Saturday to demand a "People's Vote" over the terms of any agreement, which will also have to be ratified by the parliaments of the remaining 27 EU nations.

"The gap between what people were promised in 2016 and the reality of any Brexit deal the Prime Minister finally manages to secure is growing bigger by the day," said Labour David Lammy MP, leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign.

"We are a million miles away from what the Brexit elite once promised. Brexit is already costing jobs and investment, damaging public services, threatening workers' rights and the environment, as well as closing the opportunities our younger generations will need. And it's only going to get worse."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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