BRUSSELS — Brexit negotiations looked set to drag on for weeks after British Prime Minister Theresa May urged her European Union counterparts to get creative in resolving the final obstacles to a deal.
With negotiations stuck over how to avoid the re-emergence of a border in Ireland after Brexit, May traveled to Brussels on Wednesday to meet other European leaders and urged them in a pre-dinner speech to help her “find a creative way” to move talks along. The EU’s lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said a deal would require “much more time.”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said after the meeting with May that “a lot of what she said we knew already, but it was positive that she reinforced her clear will to come to an agreement.”
With five months until the U.K. leaves the EU, both sides are making preparations should the talks collapse without a deal. EU leaders said they hoped for progress, but said May brought no fresh proposals to overcome an issue that has dogged negotiations for months: how to guarantee frictionless trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. Negotiators have also yet to address another thorny problem — what kind of trading relationship the U.K. and the EU will have after Brexit.
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