European Union leaders gather for 'moment of truth' Brexit summit

Leo Varadkar said a November summit will only happen if substantial progress is made

That means leaders will only decide whether enough progress is being made to hold an emergency summit in November or whether a deal will have to wait until the European Council in December.

He said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, would update leaders on the preparedness for all scenarios including no deal.

But leaders were openly saying that there would be "no breakthrough" at the summit, which was long billed as the "moment of truth" when a deal must be done to give time for ratification by the date of Brexit on March 29 2019.

European Union leaders dined on pan-fried mushrooms, fillet of turbot cooked in wheat beer and a trio of fruit sorbets, while they discussed their next steps on Brexit following a 30-minute meeting with Theresa May, who was not invited to dinner.

"Both sides want to get a deal done here, and I think we need... to allow the negotiating teams to set the pace with a view to making recommendations, hopefully by mid-November, that a new summit is necessary to sign off on a final deal".

May earlier told parliament in London she wanted any treaty that includes the Irish border issue linked to a separate declaration the two sides intend to issue on their intentions for a close EU-UK trade pact to be negotiated after Brexit.

He added: "Only source of hope for now is the goodwill and determination on both sides".

"I believe we can achieve a deal. a deal is in the interest not just of the United Kingdom but also the European Union", she stated.

They did not agree on an alternative to European Union backstop proposals but "discussed the need for a mechanism to clearly define how the backstop will end", a spokesman said.

"I understand the prime minister told the attorney general to sort it out - come on, mate, sort it out".

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Last December, Theresa May said Britain would create arrangements for keeping the border open in the absence of a trade deal after the Brexit transition. As the Financial Times has reported, they've proposed that Northern Ireland stay in the regulatory regime of the European Union for goods, allowing a free flow north and south.

Nigel Farage hit back at this ranting caller as she claimed everybody who voted Brexit did so to "ship back migrants the next day".

The UK, however, has said it would not accept anything that would see Northern Ireland treated differently and has instead proposed a temporary arrangement that would see the whole country remain under European Union customs regulations.

But Mr Coveney made it clear that summit would not go ahead unless significant progress is made on the border issue.

Her official spokesman later told reporters: "The Cabinet strongly supported her on the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Union and agreed that we must ensure we can not be kept in a backstop arrangement indefinitely".

British Prime Minister Theresa May offered no new ideas to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations but assured fellow European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels on Wednesday that she was working hard on a deal.

Tusk advised May that "creative" thinking from Britain was required to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, the issue that has brought divorce negotiations to a standstill.

"We want to secure a deal as quickly as possible".

"Any informed person knows that the Northern Ireland Office has just completed an extensive consultation on the legacy of the past, which is something that we are still finding very challenging 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement", she continued.

"I have invited Prime Minister May to address the EU27, giving the UK Government's assessment of the negotiations".

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