Brexit date fast approaching but nothing is certain yet, Joseph Muscat says

Brexit date fast approaching but nothing is certain yet, Joseph Muscat says

A Brussels summit wrapped up without progress after British Prime Minister Theresa May offered no new proposals, beyond suggesting she could accept a longer transition period after Brexit.

"But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020".

With a deal between both sides said to be more than 90 percent agreed, the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the neighboring Irish Republic has become the big unresolved issue.

It's been a bad month for Brexit talks.

The British prime minister told her counterparts she would be open to the idea of prolonging Britain's transition out of the bloc beyond the previously earmarked December 2020.

The Foreign Secretary also called on his party to unite behind the Prime Minister as the negotiations enter the final phase.

Boris Johnson fired both barrels at Theresa May's Irish border backstop plan tonight - warning it would turn Britain into an "EU colony".

According to the newspaper, Merkel and President Macron have urged the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier to guarantee that Europe will not impose a customs border in the Irish sea in order to give May room to sell the deal back home.

"The negotiations are very much about a solution and we have got to the point where they have become very technical but certainly it's something that is in the back of my mind as a potential effect if we get this wrong", he said.

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In an extraordinary interview with The House magazine, pro-Remain MP Tory Johnny Mercer described the government as a "s***how" and said he wouldn't vote Conservative or at all if he wasn't an MP.

Its co-chair Richard Tice said: "The original transition was an unnecessary trap created by our weak civil servants who can not be trusted as they don't want us to leave".

The Republic of Ireland and the European Union, invoking the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), demand that there be no border checks between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"We are building on the 106 technical notices we have published explaining how we will avoid, manage or mitigate the short-term risks of a no deal scenario - and make a success of Brexit".

Former Brexit Minister Baker's amendments would have to be considered and voted on by a Parliamentary Committee before the legislation could be voted on, meaning the government would have to decide in favour of the backstop to stop the amendments, effectively creating different rules for Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK.

Mr Barnier said that problems over Ireland could lead to the failure of Brexit talks. For this, we want a backstop that is workable and legally operational for Northern Ireland. "I remain confident of a good outcome", a government official quoted her as saying. A no-deal would be were the United Kingdom abruptly leaves the European Union without any agreements and would have to rely on WTO trade rules which could raise export tariffs and roil financial markets. And most people agree that would be chaos.

Despite optimistic comments from senior EU figures about the prospect of progress at the October 17-18 European Council summit, the PM made clear that agreement has not yet been reached on key issues including the Irish border.

Both sides agree that this is probably the final deadline for a deal, as both the European Union and Britain will need the next 3-4 months in order to push the deal in their respective parliaments.

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