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Summary

  1. The EU's two-day summit in Brussels has concluded
  2. If we're leaving with a Brexit deal this is it, Theresa May tells media
  3. However, PM says there is still "work to do" to reassure MPs that the deal agreed with the EU "is possible"
  4. EC president Donald Tusk has "no mandate to organise any further negotiations" but is "always at Theresa May’s disposal"
  5. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says EU sees backstop as an "insurance policy" only; "no renegotiation" of Brexit agreement
  6. European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker says EU is keen to get on with trade talks - which in theory could mean backstop not needed
  7. French President Emmanuel Macron stresses that "there is one deal, the only one possible" on Brexit

Live Reporting

By Chris Lansdown, Lauren Turner and Laurence Peter

All times stated are UK

  1. That's it for now

    The two-day EU summit is over, bringing to a close a busy week for UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

    And this brings an end to our live coverage of the afternoon's press conferences marking the end of the event.

    Scroll down to catch up on what's happened and what's been said. Thanks for joining us.

  2. Commitments 'won't impress May's harshest critics'

    Adam Fleming

    Brussels reporter

    Theresa May’s mission to Brussels has not been a failure.

    She has a written statement from her 27 fellow leaders confirming – reconfirming, really – that the Irish backstop is an insurance policy which would only ever be temporary.

    If the backstop is activated, then the EU would use their “best endeavours” to negotiate a trade deal which would mean it could be deactivated.

    That wording is crucial, say British officials, because it means the UK could refer the EU to the independent arbitration panel established in the Brexit treaty if London felt Brussels was moving too slowly.

    The EU dropped a commitment to look for further ways to help the UK, which means there won’t be a formal process to find them.

    But it doesn’t mean the search couldn’t happen informally, or in private, or at the last minute.

    The problem is that these commitments are unlikely to impress Mrs May’s harshest critics.

    And they certainly wouldn’t fit on the side of the bus as reasons to sign up to her Brexit deal.

  3. What have we learned today?

    This afternoon has seen press conferences held by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as other EU leaders.

    Here's what we learned from their statements, and the reaction that came afterwards:

    Theresa May

    • Britain will have further talks with the EU in coming days about how to obtain "further assurances" that could persuade MPs to vote in favour of her withdrawal agreement
    • There is "work to do" and talks on "clarification" will continue
    • It's not possible to reopen the agreement to alter the backstop provisions
    • She and Mr Juncker had a "robust" discussion in which she was clear that the UK needed firmer assurances the backstop can't become permanent

    Jean-Claude Juncker

    • He said when he'd referred to the word "nebulous" - something that sparked a bit of a to-do between him and Mrs May - he was talking about the "overall state of the debate in Britain" and not the UK prime minister himself
    • European leaders have the "highest respect" for Mrs May he said, describing her as a friend

    Donald Tusk

    • The EU has treated Mrs May with more respect than many British MPs
    • There is no mandate for any further negotiations

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    • Britain has to take the next steps - the 27 member states have given assurances, and their position is on the table

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

    • Mrs May's deal is "dead in the water"

    DUP leader Arlene Foster

    • Mrs May should "stand up" and "not roll over" to EU leaders
  4. Watch: Juncker explains 'nebulous' comment

    EU Commission chief Juncker explained what he meant by his controversial "nebulous" remark in relation to Brexit.

    Theresa May challenged him about it, as seen in a video tweeted earlier. Their tete-a-tete caused a huge media stir. Here is his explanation.

    Video content

    Video caption: Juncker explains 'nebulous' remark
  5. May 'has turned nebulousness into an art form'

    The Independent's political sketch writer Tom Peck has a few words to say about that exchange between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker earlier.

    Quote Message: It took the beak-readers several hours to work out exactly what Theresa May had been saying, when she narrowed her sparrow eyes and stared with terrifying singularity into the damp soul of Jean Claude-Juncker.
    Quote Message: And when they did, Google analytics reported a sudden surge in searches for the meaning of the word 'nebulous'.
    Quote Message: 'You called me nebulous', she had said. And he, roughly 12 hours after he had stood behind a lectern in front of a bank of live television cameras and called her nebulous, replied, ‘No I didn’t'.
    Quote Message: We can only conclude that Mr Juncker, evidently like so many others, doesn’t quite know what nebulous means. Because if he’d seen the same Google search results as everybody else, there’s frankly no way he would have dared deny it.

    You can read the rest of his piece here.

  6. Foster: May shouldn't 'roll over' to EU leaders

    Arlene Foster

    Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster has called on Theresa May to "stand up" and not "roll over" to EU leaders during Brexit talks.

    She was speaking after Mrs May met with European Union leaders in Brussels.

    Mrs May wants legal assurances on the Irish backstop to help the deal get through Parliament, after she delayed a Commons vote in anticipation of defeat.

    European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there could be clarifications but no renegotiation.

    Read more here.

  7. Senior EU staffer's hair ruffled by Juncker

    EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was filmed enthusiastically ruffling the hair of a woman at the summit today.

    BBC colleagues in Brussels managed to identify her as Pernilla Sjölin, deputy head of protocol at the European Commission. So she is part of Mr Juncker's large team.

  8. Varadkar: Reassurances 'cannot contradict draft agreement'

    Here's some more from the Taoiseach, speaking about Theresa May's agreement.

    Quote Message: There were suggestions, some of them perhaps made sense, others would be difficult. One is that we would commit to a particular date to have the future relationship treaty, the trade deal.
    Quote Message: We can commit to our best endeavours and say we will work towards a target date. It is not possible to say that we will definitely meet that date. The future relationship treaty will be more complicated, it will have to be ratified by 28 member parliaments.

    Mr Varadkar said they would begin negotiations on the future as soon as possible once the withdrawal treaty was dealt with.

  9. Juncker seen ruffling woman's hair

    A German video news agency has shared this video from earlier in the day, showing Jean-Claude Juncker greeting a woman in an unusual way - by ruffling her hair.

    It's not clear who the woman is or what prompted the hair ruffle.

    View more on twitter

    On his way in to the final summit press conference the European Commission president was then seen covering a camera lens with his hand - could the two incidents be related?

    View more on twitter
  10. Leo Varadkar 'satisfied' with summit conclusions

    Leo Varadkar

    The Irish premier says he's "very satisfied" with the summit conclusions on Brexit which made clear that the Withdrawal Agreement could not be renegotiated.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

    Quote Message: As Europe we reaffirmed our commitment for the need for a backstop. An open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland can't be a backdoor to the single market.
    Quote Message: That's why European countries also very strongly support backstop. It is not just an Irish issue, it is very much a European issue as well. It is very much a case of in the European Union being one-for-all and all-for-one.
  11. Tusk: No mandate to reopen negotiations

    European Council President Donald Tusk ruled out reopening negotiations on the UK withdrawal deal.

    "I have no mandate to organise further negotiations, no mandate to reopen negotiations on the withdrawal agreement," he told the news conference.

    But he said: "I’m always at Prime Minister May’s disposal" and "it's my pleasure to be in contact with the prime minister on all relevant issues".

    "Yesterday's conclusions are quite clear I think and we have to treat it as a good sign that we are ready to reconfirm our assurances and goodwill and good faith when comes to the so-called backstop."

  12. Juncker: May and I 'weren't dancing'

    Mr Juncker is asked about THAT chat with Mrs May again.

    He does a little jig on the stage but then says they "weren't dancing".

    He then went on to say this:

    View more on twitter
  13. Tusk: We've more respect for May than some MPs do

    Mr Tusk says the EU has treated Theresa May "with much greater empathy and respect than some British MPs, for sure".

    Mr Juncker adds: "She's a good friend of ours. We have the highest respect for the British prime minister."

  14. Brexit 'overshadowed' all other business

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz - current EU Council president - says that Brexit talks had "overshadowed" all other business at the Brussels summit.

    He says: "The last few days have been useful to discuss certain questions with Theresa May and create some more clarity.

    "There will be a vote in the British Parliament in January and the deal that was negotiated is a good deal for both sides. We hope that this deal will find support in both parliaments eventually."

  15. Juncker 'won't respond to attacks from Westminster'

    Mr Juncker acknowledges there is deep mistrust in the Commons of the EU's position.

    He wants to make clear how keen they are to get on with trade talks - which in theory could mean backstop not needed.

    He says he won't respond to those attacks from Westminster, but adds: "although I would like to do it".

  16. Juncker says May is a 'friend'

    Following their conversation which was videoed this morning, which appeared to be rather heated, Mr Juncker stresses that Mrs May is his "friend".

    View more on twitter
  17. May is 'woman of great courage'

    Jean-Claude Juncker

    Mr Juncker has replied to a question about the future of Brexit.

    He says of Mrs May: "This is a woman of great courage, doing her job in the best way possible."

    He adds the backstop is not intended to be a "permanent instrument".

    Mr Juncker adds that "we have to bring down the temperature" following "attacks" coming from Westminster.

  18. Brexiteers block bridge - but also an ambulance

    Brexiteers have held a protest on London's Westminster Bridge.

    But many have also suggested from a clip they posted on Twitter that they also blocked an ambulance with its lights flashing.

    View more on twitter