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EU leaders ready to extend Brexit transition period

18 October 2018, 22:51 CET
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EU leaders ready to extend Brexit transition period

Theresa May - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - EU leaders at a summit in Brussels to review progress on Brexit talks declared their readiness Thursday to consider any British proposal to extend the two-year transition period once the UK leaves the EU.

The EU27 said it wants to continue Brexit talks "in a positive spirit", but confirmed that not enough progress had been made to convene a European Council on Brexit in November.

The issue of the length of the transition period was not discussed among the EU27 leaders, Council president Donald Tusk confirmed, but "if the UK decided that an extension of the transition period would be helpful to reach a deal, I am sure that the leaders would be ready to consider it positively," he said.

EU27 leaders reaffirmed their full confidence in Michel Barnier as the negotiator and their determination to stay united. They also noted that, despite intensive negotiations, not enough progress has been achieved.

After the summit, British prime minister Theresa May denied she was proposing an extension to the implementation period. "What we are doing," she said, "is working to ensure we have a solution to the backstop issue in Northern Ireland, which is currently a blockage to completing the deal, that enables us to get on with completing a deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, and is good for the future of the UK."

The European Council on 18 October focused on migration and internal security. It was followed by the Euro Summit in an inclusive format.

Also at the summit, the EU leaders discussed the issue of migration. They took stock of the implementation of the decisions they had agreed at the June European Council and called for work to be continued on all elements.

The European Council stressed the need to further prevent illegal migration. It called for strengthened cooperation with countries of origin and transit, particularly in North Africa, as part of a broader partnership.

Leaders called for the fight against migrant smugglers to be stepped up by cooperating more with countries outside the EU; creating a joint task force at Europol's European Migrant Smuggling Centre; better monitoring and disrupting smugglers' online communications.

EU leaders invited the European Parliament and the Council to examine, as a matter of priority, the recent Commission proposals on the return directive, the asylum agency and the European border and coast guard.

The EU's return policy was also discussed. The leaders said that more should be done to facilitate effective returns. Existing readmission agreements should be better implemented and new agreements and arrangements concluded.

On internal security, the Council adopted conclusions on internal security, following the Leaders' Agenda thematic debate in Salzburg on 20 September 2018.

Taking into account the recent cyber attacks against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, leaders called for further strengthening of the EU's deterrence, resilience and response to hybrid, cyber as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.

The European Council called for swift implementation of previous decisions. It also called for measures to combat cyber and cyber-enabled illegal and malicious activities, prevent and respond effectively to radicalisation and terrorism and strengthen crisis management capacity.

The European Council adopted conclusions on external relations, focusing on the EU's relations with Africa. Leaders agreed that cooperation should be taken to a new level, underpinned by the necessary resources, including through the European External Investment Plan and the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

On climate change, the European Council endorsed the Council conclusions on preparations for the December 2018 UN climate conference in Katowice and gave Poland its full support in organising COP24. The Council also recognised the negative impacts of climate change in the light of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

European Council conclusions

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Posted by LYN WICK at 20 October 2018, 17:58 CET
No more financial aid from UK to EU ,We actually leave March 29th 2019 at 23.00 GMT and there is no acceptable deal = A no deal with EU .UK will trade with the world we are ready to claim back our seas for our fishermen ,allowing our farmers to use all their fields and for no more milk quotas needing purchasing. Freedom is priceless and are prepared for a few knock backs initially.Two world wars and no one in UK starved .BYE BYE EU ,Destroy your nations but you will not destroy UK any longer .

Short-term thinking

Posted by Keith Bramich at 19 November 2018, 03:25 CET
Actually, Lyn, the opposite of what you say is true: by crashing out of the EU without a deal, the UK is likely to destroy itself financially, losing access to many valuable research projects (and hence crippling UK universities), and businesses with international interests are already leaving London, due to uncertainties about trading in the future.

You're right about one thing though ... there is no acceptable deal, but of course the easy solution is to stay in the EU, and to see through this difficult period shoulder to shoulder with our European colleagues.

The only reason the UK's government continues to talk about leaving the EU is that it doesn't want to lose face. The next few days and weeks will be very interesting!