British Prime Minister Theresa May, right, arrives for an EU summit at the Europa building in Brussels, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. EU leaders meet for a second day on Thursday to discuss migration, cybersecurity and to try and move ahead on stalled Brexit talks. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The Latest: EU's Tusk now more optimistic on Brexit deal

October 18, 2018 - 10:04 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Brexit: (all times local):

5 p.m.

EU Council President Donald Tusk says this week's summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May has left him more optimistic that a Brexit deal can be found for Britain's divorce from the bloc.

Tusk says "what I feel today is that we are closer to the final solutions and the deal." He acknowledged that "it may be a more emotional impression than a rational one, but emotions matter, also in politics."

Tusk was blamed for contributing to a tense atmosphere at an EU summit in September in Austria, when he made frank comments and compounded it with an Instagram entry that was considered flippant and disrespectful toward May.

He says "we are in a much better mood than after Salzburg."

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2:55 p.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is getting criticism from across the British political spectrum for considering a European Union proposal that would keep the U.K. bound to the bloc's rules for more than two years after it leaves the EU in March.

Seeking to unblock stalled divorce talks with the EU, May said on Thursday that a proposed 21-month transition period after Brexit could be extended by "a matter of months."

The two sides previously said Britain will remain inside the EU single market, and subject to the bloc's regulations, from the day it leaves on March 29 until December 2020, to give time for new trade relations to be set up.

But with talks at an impasse, the bloc has suggested extending that period to provide more time to strike an agreement that ensures the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains friction-free.

The Irish border issue is the main sticking point in Brexit negotiations.

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10:10 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she is considering a European Union proposal that would keep Britain bound to the bloc's rules for more than two years after Brexit.

At present the two sides say Britain will remain subject to the bloc's rules from Brexit day on March 29 until December 2020, to give time for new trade relations to be set up.

With divorce talks stuck, the bloc has suggested extending that period, to give more time to strike a trade deal that ensures a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

May said Thursday that the U.K. is considering extending the transition period by "a matter of months."

The idea has angered pro-Brexit U.K. politicians, who see it as an attempt to bind Britain to the bloc indefinitely.

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