European Union calls for new proposals from Theresa May to break Brexit deadlock

DUP leader Arlene Foster insists the ‘backstop option’ will not work for unionists

DUP leader Arlene Foster insists the ‘backstop option’ will not work for unionists

Another round of Brexit negotiation and there's deadlock. "Let me tell you categorically that these reports are untrue".

Meanwhile, the top European Union trade official played down the importance of a USA announcement that it will pursue a trade deal with Britain, noting London can not negotiate such pacts until it leaves the bloc.

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.

Meanwhile, seemingly all sides of the Brexit divide are looking less and less likely to back the deal May hopes to bring back from Brussels.

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.

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A solution to avoid customs checks and border infrastructure along the politically sensitive frontier between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is the last major hurdle to overcome but there are still "significant" gaps left to bridge, Mr Varadkar said.

Previously, both sides had agreed that Britain crashing out of the Union on March 29 next year with neither a divorce agreement nor a road-map to future ties would be an economic and diplomatic disaster.

Earlier Ireland's deputy prime minister Simon Coveney confirmed the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier was prepared to extend the 21-month transition period after Britain leaves the bloc to allow time to negotiate an alternative arrangement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to urge her counterparts to give ground on Britain's departure from the bloc, while European Union leaders hope she brings "concrete proposals" to break the deadlock.

She'll continue efforts to win senior ministers over at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.

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"We must always be clear that while we want to avoid harshness, in the end the difference between a membership of the European Union and a partnership with the European Union as a third country must be made clear and will be made clear", she said.

Mr Roth made clear that Germany is alive to the problems Mrs May could face in getting any deal through Parliament, telling reporters: "I have the impression that it is hard to secure the appropriate parliamentary majority in Great Britain".

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".

The EU has proposed a backstop that would mean Northern Ireland staying in the customs union, large parts of the single market and the EU VAT system - the United Kingdom has rejected this, instead proposing a backstop which would effectively keep the whole of the United Kingdom in the EU customs union for a limited period.

"I think we are quite close to a no-deal", warned Konrad Szymanski, the Polish minister for European Affairs, after a pre-summit meeting with his European counterparts in Luxembourg.

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She says this would threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom - and it is strongly opposed by her Northern Irish allies from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The politics of all this in flux and now is not the time to shut down options either for Britain or Europe.

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