Berlin braced for all Brexit scenarios, including no deal - Merkel

The future of the 310 mile border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is at the centre of Brexit negotiations

Why Theresa May can't agree to EU's idea of extending Brexit transition by a year

It is understood that negotiators believe the idea would help the British government reassure the DUP and eurosceptics that the backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland would not be needed.

And it is all because of the Irish border issue - squaring the circle or making the impossible possible.

European Union leaders were converging on Brussels Wednesday for what had been billed as a "moment of truth" Brexit summit but which now holds little promise for a breakthrough.

Theresa May will be in Brussels today and will be addressing European leaders before the pre-summit dinner is scheduled to take place.

At present the two sides are proposing that Britain remain inside the European Union single market and bound by its rules from the time it leaves the bloc in March until December 2020, to give time for new trade relations to be set up.

It's reported in the Irish Independent today that the idea of extending the two year Brexit transition by one year is being considered to provide more time to develop a temporary customs arrangement between the European Union and the UK.

As reported by Reuters, the UK's Trade Minister Liam Fox is expected to expressly reject the idea that the United Kingdom will be looking to decrease food restrictions in an effort to secure more lucrative trade deals post-Breixt.

This offer would not in itself resolve the back-stop issue, which must be settled in the Brexit treaty that must be ratified before March to avoid a damaging "no deal" scenario.

Instead, the matter could either be pushed back to December or - more dramatically - the European Union could use the November weekend to meet on preparations for a "no-deal" Brexit.

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She said: "He asks me if the Chequers plan is dead, the answer is no".

The call from European Council president Donald Tusk came as Mrs May urged her Cabinet to "stand together and stand firm" on Brexit, after negotiations stalled in the run-up to a crucial summit.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

"For now, Britain is negotiating with Britain", Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said, referring to May's troubles with her own cabinet and supporters.

But, sensing more urgency in London, senior European Union officials said Brussels would "keep calm and carry on", ready to wait till December or even later to clinch a final agreement.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons that the backstop should never need to come into effect.

The Prime Minister has just about managed to keep the Brexit process afloat despite her election disaster, ministerial resignations, threats to her leadership and setbacks like her Salzburg summit humiliation.

He said his party would stop short of pulling the government down and triggering a general election, but added: "Under the fixed term parliament act there is a lot we cannot support in terms of the government's domestic, financial, welfare and other legislation which does not trigger Jeremy Corbyn getting into Number 10".

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