Brexit deadlock after May offers ‘nothing new’ at key summit

Brussels, Thursday

European leaders have dropped plans for a special November summit to complete a Brexit deal because of a lack of progress in negotiations, and have ramped up preparations for a chaotic split.

British Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured) offered “nothing new” in a presentation to EU leaders at a critical meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the head of the European Parliament said Thursday.

EU leaders ordered negotiations to continue, and left open the possibility that a November summit could yet take place if a breakthrough can be reached. But they also ordered officials to intensify their preparations for a “no-deal” scenario.

The leaders insisted that May must do more to avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal, even after she indicated she was open to extending a Brexit transition period if it helped unblock negotiations.

The outcome offered a breathing space of sorts to the PM, who is under pressure in the UK from Brexiters who feel she has conceded too much to Europe, and from Remainers who fear Britain is on course to crash out of the EU without a deal.

But with the clock ticking to Britain’s exit from the EU at the end of March, talks remain at an impasse, with no obvious way out.

May spoke for around 15 minutes on Wednesday evening, delivering a “message of goodwill,” but it was short on substance, said Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, who was in the room for the address.

Arriving for the second day on Thursday, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a “backstop” plan to avoid frontier checks between Britain and Ireland if and until a new trade deal to resolve the issue can be signed. -CNN

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