Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Barnier calls for more time to find Brexit deal

Barnier calls for more time to find Brexit deal

A flurry of diplomatic meetings over the weekend had raised hopes for an agreement on Britain's divorce from the bloc.

The prominent "Remainer" said that the issue of the Irish border was never properly debated during the referendum campaign.

"We need more time to find a comprehensive agreement and achieve the decisive progress that is needed to finalise this negotiation on the UK's orderly withdrawal", he told reporters.

"I continue to believe such a deal is achievable", she said.

European Union leaders will instead discuss whether enough progress has been made towards a deal to warrant calling a special summit in mid-November in order to sign-off a deal.

Loiseau said "everything is on the table" and France had set up the mechanisms to pass emergency legislation to deal with the chaos expected in the event of "no deal".

Britain refuses to be pinned down on a date for a fixed Brexit deal.

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Ireland's deputy prime minister and foreign minister Simon Coveney also insisted on Monday that a backstop can't be time-limited - and pointed out that the United Kingdom has already agreed to that last December and again in March with the EU.

His comments come days after reports that Brexit talks have run into a "significant problem" over the issue of the Northern Ireland border.

Talks at the weekend foundered over the EU's demand for a "backstop to the backstop" created to ensure the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains open under any circumstances.

May aimed to clarify the current status of the Brexit negotiations a day after a deal was meant to be closed.

"So even with the progress we have made, the European Union still requires a "backstop to the backstop"- effectively an insurance policy for the insurance policy and they want this to be the Northern Ireland-only solution that they had previously proposed".

The leaders were speaking two days before heading to Brussels for a summit of European Union leaders that had been billed as a "moment of truth" ahead of Britain's exit from the bloc in March. "We need to provide security to our citizens and to our companies".

Theresa May has warned her fractious Cabinet that her Brexit plan can only be delivered if all ministers "stand together" and unite. The brick wall those talks hit over the Irish border issue has flipped around that logic. High-level talks on Sunday failed to produce a breakthrough.

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Another summit has been penciled in for mid-November, although some leaders have said it will only go ahead if there is progress this week.

May is due to update lawmakers on the talks later Monday.

Simon Coveney says that Britain agreed in December and again in March that the unpopular "backstop" would remain in place until a better solution is found. British and European Union officials thought they were close to an agreement about the Irish border, but on Sunday that all fell apart when it became clear Prime Minister May didn't have the full support of her Cabinet and that several key ministers were on the brink of resigning.

"A backstop can not be time-limited. That's new. It hasn't been there before".

The PM will be hoping to reassure staunch Brexiteers within her own Conservative Party, as well as members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - which props up her minority government. But EU officials say that may be the only way to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. "We still have one month".

"Whether we do (it) this week or not, who knows?"

Mr Coveney and the Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee are also attending a meeting of EU Foreign and European Affairs Ministers.

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