European Union backs Brexit transition demands as tensions rock May

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos Switzerland

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos Switzerland

"We will have to agree a way of resolving concerns if laws are deemed to run contrary to our interests and we have not had our say", he said. "The time limited period should be determined by the length of time it takes to put in place new arrangements and we believe that should be around two years".

European affairs ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday will issue a "gentle reminder" not to lose sight of these issues, one senior official told the Guardian. We will face an objection against it, I'm sure.

British Brexit minister David Davis said on Monday that the priority was for Britain to be able to sign free trade pacts with other countries, adding: "We want a high degree of stability and the right to do deals".

But May, who gambled on a snap election a year ago that cost her party its majority in parliament, is facing pressure from multiple angles: pro-EU lawmakers, hardline Brexiteers, and another contingent who question her leadership credentials and criticise a "dull boring dull" domestic agenda.

Trump delivered the warning during a wide-ranging interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he took his "America First" agenda to the global business elite.

Brussels is open "in principle" to extending Britain's transition period.

The UK is set to leave the bloc in March 2019, but with trade negotiations starting this year, May's Conservative Party and her Cabinet are deeply divided over how Brexit should go ahead.

"I'm not sure this is a speech that will really reward deep textual analysis".

To all intents and purposes, we have a new date for leaving the EU: Dec 31, 2020.

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Giving evidence to a House of Lords committee on Monday, Mr Davis said the United Kingdom wanted a "right to object" to new laws passed by the European Union during the transition phase over which it had no say and disagreed with. We expect Britain to ask for that.

The most thorny question is the future relationship with Ireland, a matter which is on a special negotiating track and is unlikely to be resolved soon.

With unsafe rifts emerging openly among May's government, Davis and other top ministers tried to show a united front at the weekend with a joint letter insisting the transition was the best solution.

Brexit progress has continued at a slow pace.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was a vocal opponent of the U.K.'s exit from the bloc and has repeatedly sought reassurance about its effects on Japanese companies operating in Britain, which include giant carmakers Nissan and Honda. The two sides hope to strike a deal on future relations by the fall, before Britain's departure in March 2019.

Mr Walker added: "We don't want to be in some sort of indefinite purgatory during this period".

Today Brussels sources indicated that trying to resist European Union laws during that time could hold up a future deal.

"There is obviously going to be a negotiation on what the implementation period looks like", he said.

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