Today’s European Council summit was dominated by the issue of migration which has exposed deep divisions across the bloc.
Brussels is hoping to implement an EU-wide quota system which would see refugees and asylum seekers distributed among member states to share the burden.
But countries including Poland and Hungary have refused to take part, insisting it would threaten their national sovereignty and security.
After an entire day of talks, no consensus was reached and a summit statement, which was supposed to outline what had been agreed, was postponed.
EU rules mean all 28 member states must sign up before a statement can be issued, but diplomats said Italy was blocking it.
The spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk said: “As one member reserved their position on the entire conclusions, no conclusions have been agreed at this stage.”
I expect EU leaders to send a strong message to the UK that negotiations with the task force need to intensify
A press conference hosted by Mr Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was also cancelled and re-scheduled for tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Theresa May sought to reassure EU leaders her Brexit plans are coming along, ahead of the October deadline for the final draft divorce proposal.
Mr Macron’s aide said this morning there is a “serious and grave” rebuke planned for Britain.
On the doorsteps of the EU Summit, the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Time is getting on. We don’t have much longer. It is difficult co come to agreements in our cabinet but she has to.
“The first problem is the Irish border. We need a backstop that is not temporary it is continuous. That issue has to be solved.
“I don’t want to talk in apocalyptic terms. But first, second and third priority is the Irish border.”
The remaining 27 EU leaders will discuss Brexit tomorrow morning, by which point Mrs May will have left Brussels.
LIVE UPDATES FROM THE EU SUMMIT BELOW
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have arrived for the EU Summit i Brussels
Friday June 29
0.45am: France and Malta have tabled changes to the migration conclusion
An EU diplomat has stated France and Malta have tabled a number of changes to the migration conclusion, which is still disputed.
A point of contention has emerged surrounding the possibility of migrants being processed in regional disembarkation platforms which could appear inside the EU.
0.40am: EU talks could continue until 4am (3am BST) as EU leaders discuss migration
An EU diplomat has stated that negotiations could last a further three hours, until 4am local time (3am BST), as Italians continue to hold out as leaders discuss migration.
Germany and France are keen to continue negotiations until some resolution is reached, as Merkel is under pressure to obtain some form of deal due to increasing pressure from her Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
0.05am: Leo Varadkar posts photo of himself with the Chancellor of Austria and the Prime Ministers of Spain and Luxembourg
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar posted a photo of himself with the Chancellor of Austria and the Prime Ministers of Spain and Luxembourg before an EU summit dinner.
The Irish leader noted that all three European leaders spent time in Ireland as children learning English.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “A pre-dinner chat with the three prime ministers who spent time in Ireland learning English as school kids; Xavier Bettel, Sebastian Kurz, and Pedro Sanchez.
Thursday June 28
11.30pm: Theresa May issues stark warning to EU over European security post-Brexit
Theresa May issued a stark warning to EU leaders that citizens’ lives could be put at risk if Brussels fails to achieve a final Brexit deal with the UK.
She noted that the ability to “map terrorist networks” across Europe would be diminished under the EU’s current negotiating stance.
Mrs May said: “This is not what I want and I do not believe it is what you want either.
“I would urge you to consider what is in the best interests of your citizens and mine.”
10.25pm: Verhofstadt mocks Nigel Farage over England loss
Guy Verhofstadt took to Twitter to mock Nigel Farage after England’s 0-1 defeat to Belgium in the World Cup this evening.
Referencing a May 3 tweet in which the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator criticised Mr Farage for claiming “Belgium is not a real country”, he said: “No comment. #ENGBEL 0-1.”
The original tweet said: “Today, Nigel Farage said Belgium is not a real country. He’ll see how real Belgium is when we play England in the World Cup! But perhaps he’s still exploring German citizenship and will be rooting for ‘die Mannschaft’.”
9.30pm: France attempts to break impasse
France has put forward a potential solution to the stalemate on an EU-wide migration policy by suggesting states that refuse to take part in the bloc’s quota system pay more money to border protection instead.
EU nations are deeply divided over how to handle the migrant crisis, with countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic rejecting any system which would force them to take in refugees and asylum seekers.
In an attempt to break the deadlock, France has floated the prospect of those countries helping tackle the issue by paying more into Frontex, the EU’s border force, or by funding “development projects in North Africa”.
An aide to President Emmanuel Macron told reporters: “The principle of solidarity is non-negotiable. We can, though, reflect on how solidarity is shown.”
7.10pm: Italy antics delay press conference
Tonight’s press conference has been postponed due to Italy’s refusal to sign up to a joint EU agreement on a number of issues.
A statement by the European Council said: “The European Council this afternoon had an exchange of views with EP President Tajani and NATO Secretary-General as well as discussions on security and defence, jobs, growth and competitiveness, innovation and digital and other issues such as enlargement, MH-17 and MFF.
“As one Member reserved their position on the entire conclusions, no conclusions have been agreed at this stage.
“For this reason, the press conference by the EU institutional representatives has been cancelled and will instead take place tomorrow after the end of the Euro Summit.”
6.30pm: Fighting talks from Varadkar
Mr Varadkar has issued a warning to the UK and told it not to expect as good a deal as it already experiences.
He said: “Any relationship that exists in the future between the EU and the UK isn’t going to be one of absolute equals: we’re 27 member states, the UK is one country, we’re 500 million people, the UK is 60 million. That basic fact has to be realised and understood.”
5.30pm: May and Varadkar set for talks
Theresa May and Leo Varadkar will hold bilateral talks at 6pm BST.
A spokesman for Mr Varadkar confirmed the meeting will be held on the margins of the EU Summit this evening.
4.25pm: Tajani admits ‘people in Europe need to respect rules’
European Parliament Antonio Tajani said he is more comfortable working in Africa than in the Balkans.
He said: “For me, it’s better to work in Africa than in the Balkans.
“There are people in Europe who need to respect the rules, for this I think we need to change the Dublin rules for asylum.”
EU Summit live: EU leaders at today’s crunch meeting
4.15pm: Varadkar on migration crisis
Leo Varadkar has spoken out on the migration crisis, blaming it partly on the rise of populism.
He said: “My assessment is that this isn’t so much a migrant crisis as a political crisis.
“We have a political crisis because of the fact that anti-immigration and populist parties have been very electorally successful.
“Really what we need is more European action and more European money and investment to provide economic opportunities.”
4.10pm: More from Leo
Leo Varadkar has shared a video in which he outlines his hard border red line.
He said: “When it comes to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, my understanding is very simple: we don’t want it, Britain doesn’t want it and the European Union doesn’t want it.
“We’re not going to be preparing for a hard border on the island of Ireland and we’re not going to agree to anything that would give rise to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
3.55pm: Italy threaten to block migration statement
Italy is threatening to block the joint EU statement on migration.
Earlier today the county’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte said the issue “does not need more words but concrete actions”.
And it now appears the country will not add their name to the joint statement issued after this weeks summit.
3.30pm: Juncker issues Brexit warning
Jean-Claude Juncker isn’t happy. After earlier saying he won’t “lecture” Theresa May, he tells her to get her cabinet in order for the sake of negotiations.
He said: “I would like our British friends to make clear their positions.
“We can’t go on with a split cabinet, they have to say what they want.”
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron greet each other at the EU summit
2.41pm: Theresa May received a Belgium football shirt ahead of tonight’s World Cup match
Theresa May has been presented with a Belgium football shirt ahead of tonight’s World Cup match between England and the Belgian national side.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker were both photographed wearing a Belgium scarf before talks got underway.
Mr Varadkar said: “I am here in Brussels in Belgium so of course I am going to be cheering for the home team.
“But of course if Belgium wins England will probably get an easier ride in the next round so perhaps it is one of those win-win scenarios.”
2.27pm update: Jean-Claude Juncker “worried” by lack of progress
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker admitted he was “worried” about a lack of progress in Brexit negotiations and insisted he would not “lecture” Theresa May but said the UK had to make its position clear.
When asked if there was a risk there may not be a deal, he said: “We are preparing for different scenarios – on the proper withdrawal agreement but, in parallel, we are working on the no deal.”
2.14pm update: Theresa May pledges faster pace for Brexit negotiations
Theresa May said Britain and the EU were both committed to speeding up Brexit talks to ensure a deal was in place by October.
She said: “As regards discussions on Brexit I look forward to talking with fellow leaders on the very good progress we have made on the withdrawal agreement and looking forward to securing our strong future partnership that i believe is in the best interest of both the EU and UK.
“I think both sides are ready to are seen to continue that work at a faster pace than we have done up until now and certainly we would welcome that.
“We have been setting out throughout theses negotiations our position and of course at every stage, last December and March, we have come to agreements with the EU on the issues we said we would talk about
“We will be bringing the cabinet together, within the next week. We will be publishing a white paper, fleshing out in more detail what strong partnership the UK wants to see with the EU in the future.
“That is the partnership I believe is not just in the interests on the UK but with the wider interests of the EU too.
“Which is why I believe we can discuss that at pace and achieve what we want.”
When asked of the EU was not being flexible she replied: “Its’s clear we have already seen and been able to encourage and get flexibility with the EU.
“I will be setting out our position in the future. We want to sit down to gather to negotiate this for the future it’s not just about what is best for the United Kingdom but for the European Union as well.”
2.10pm update: Leo Varadkar urged Theresa May to soften UK ‘red lines’
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: “We as the European Union 27 nations are willing to be more flexible but UK has to soften its red lines.
“We cannot compromise the four freedoms as if we agree to that the EU would begin to break up and we couldn’t contemplate that.
“We need to know how UK sees its relationship with EU. They should have had that two years ago before the vote.
“We look forward to seeing that White Paper but we’re two years telling people we can’t be cherry picking. We have laws and principles and we cannot change that for anybody.”
Theresa May is presented with a Belgium football shirt
1.54pm update: Dutch leader issues Brexit warning
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutter said he understood Theresa May was struggling to find agreement on Brexit within her Cabinet and in Parliament but warned time was running out.
He said: “We do not have much time for Brexit negotiations. Time is getting shorter and shorter.“We have to have dealt by October otherwise we won’t have time to ratify Britain’s withdrawal treaty.
“The Irish border problem is crucial and has to be solved permanently.
“I don’t want to talk in apocalyptic terms. What I want to say is that I believe the first, second and third priority now is to solve this issue of the Irish border. And when that is solved so many other issues will be easier to discuss.
“The first issue on the table now to solve is this problem of the Irish border. That is crucial. And there has to be a backstop which is not temporary, which is continuous, in case we are not able to solve this problem in future. And that issue has to be solved.
“I do understand it is difficult to come to agreement within her cabinet and within the UK parliament, but she has to.
“I will do everything I can to support Theresa May. She is working day and night to solve this.”
Merkel speaking to reporters at the EU summit
1.34pm update: Antonio Tajani pledges reforms on Dublin Regulation
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “I will do everything I can so EU members decide what to do to solve the migrant issue.
“Many things are needed: reinforcing external borders, a strategy for Africa, investment in Turkey, Libya; a Marshall Plan for Africa, creating camps for refugees with the flag of the European Union.
“And the Dublin Reform. We have approved a reform that serves as a basis to continue. So, we will focus on migration and the reform of the Dublin Regulation.”
1.16pm update: Italian leader promises hardline on migration
New Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said his country needed “deeds not words” on migrations.
He said his government believed its proposals on migration were reasonable.
Mr Conte said: “As you know, Italy has worked on a proposal which it brings to this European Council, a proposal we believe is completely reasonable because it is in line with the spirit and the principle on which the European Union is based.
“Over all these years and in the meetings with the leaders of other member states, I have seen many expressions of solidarity. Today is a very important day.
“We hope these words will be translated into action. Italy no longer has a need for words and statements, we need concrete acts.
“This is the right occasion. From that point of view this meeting will be a watershed as far as we are concerned. And as far I am concerned I am willing to draw the needed consequences.”
1.11pm update: Angela Merkel arrives at the EU summit
German leader Angela Merkel has arrived at the summit venue in Brussels. She said: “We can talk about landing ships of migrants in other countries, for example in North Africa. But we need to talk with these countries.
“We can’t do this over their heads. The EU-Turkey deal was one that both sides agreed to. So we need to talk about the needs of these countries. We need to do this together with the UNHCR and the IOM.
“Defence of our external borders is something which unites Europe. We will talk about the issues of Frontex, border protection, secondary migration.
“The countries that are receiving a lot of refugees need support. But the refugees and migrants can’t choose in which country they request asylum.”
1.07pm Update: Emmanuel Macron arrives at the EU summit
France’s Emmanuel Macron said EU member states had to make a choice when it came to tackling the the migrant crisis.
Mr Macron, a great ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters:
“This summit will also be the place for an important discussion on immigration. This is not a new issue. Europe has been living with it since 2015.
“We all face a simple choice: do we want national solutions or do we believe in European solutions and cooperation?
“For my part, I will defend European solutions, in cooperation, in the European Union and under Schengen.
“We need cooperation under the current agreements that we have and to modernise them. There is work to do beyond Europe’s borders, on Europe’s borders and within Europe based on two principles: responsibility and solidarity.”
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has arrived in Brussels for the Summit on migration
1.03pm update: Mateusz Morawiecki urges tougher EU border controls
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland would be pushing for tougher external border controls to stop secondary migrations from third countries.
Speaking as he arrived for the summit, Mr Morawiecki also said he supported the continuation of sanctions against Poland’s next-door neighbour Russia and said the creation of a eurozone budget should not endanger the wider EU budget.
12.50pm update: European leaders have begun arriving in Brussels
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, Bulgarian delegates and officials from Czech Republic and Finland have also arrived.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said delaying Brexit would be an “absolute betrayal”.
He said: “This referendum that we had back in 2016 was about whether we become an independent country. That’s what people voted for.
“What the Government needs to do is to come up with a radical new plan and needs to start getting European business on their side.
“Clearly it should be in the interests of the European Union to have a sensible trade deal with us because they sell us more than we sell them.
“They are not behaving that way, I think we have got to try some different tactics, we have got to be a lot more radical, but the British Government needs to get European businesses, car manufactures in Germany, for example, we have got to get them on our side against what Michel Barnier is doing.
“The only crumb of comfort for people that voted to leave, is that we appear to be on track – given Royal Assent was given this week to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
EU summit: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels
“We appear to be on track to leave at 11pm on March 29 next year.
“Everything else we are pretty unhappy about.
“Whether it is taking back fisheries, whether it’s being free to make our own trade deals, whether it is taking back control of our borders.
“The only crumb of comfort was leaving on the 29 March, and frankly, if that gets delayed, that will be betrayal, no other word for it.”
12.22pm update: Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini tells EU to protect its borders
Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini has put the cat among the pigeons in Brussels by declaring the EU’s main priority was to “protect its external borders”.
He said: “The biggest priority in this moment is to protect our external border. First we have to start to do this and after that we can continue to discuss about was is happening inside the European Union.”
12.01pm update: Spain’s Pedro Sanchez looking forward to ‘tete-a-tete’ with Theresa May
Mr Sanchez said: “We will have a tete-a-tete meeting with Prime Minister May and look forward to continue with the negotiations and with this constructive approach that the Spanish government is having.”
When asked of he was disappointed with the slow progress on Brexit he replied: “No, I won’t say that. Absolutely not.”
11.53am update: Xavier Bettel calls for agreement on immigration
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said the EU had to thrash out a policy of legal immigration.
He said: ”I think we have to discuss everything. If we have countries saying this and that is a red line we will never get an agreement. Legal immigration has to be the rule.”
“There are so many people who arrived in different countries and then made their way to Germany. I understand Germany says ‘Why do we have to deal with everything?'”
11.47am update: Finnish leader offers support to Angela Merkel
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said is country was ready to co-operate with Germany on its migration proposals.
He said: “We have practical problems on secondary migration in Finland and Finland is ready to co-operate with Germany.”
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez arrives at a meeting in Brussels
11.42am update: Pedro Sanches calls for show of solidarity with ‘crisis-hit’ Germany
Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called on European Union member states to show solidarity to Germany which he said was “suffering a political crisis”.
He said: “What we need is a common response to a common challenge, which is migration and we have to combine responsibility with solidarity.
“Responsibility in order to control our frontiers, to intensify our foreign and external dimension of the migration policy.
“And solidarity also with regards to other countries especially Germany which is now suffering a political crisis.”
11.29am update: Viktor Orban fires warnining shots over migrant crisis solution
Hungary’s hardman leader Viktor Orban has insisted democracy in Europe tops the summit agenda rather than the migrant crisis.
Mr Orban, whose anti-immigration rhetoric and refusal to toe the Brussels line on refugees, has enraged fellow EU leaders said: “The main issue is not migration, the issue is democracy in Europe.
“It is about what the people believe, what should be done.”
11.03am update: Commons Brexit committee calls or departure to be delayed
The influential Commons Brexit Committee has called for Britain’s departure from he EU to be delayed.
The committee said, even under the most optimistic scenario, there may not be enough time to complete all the necessary work by next March when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
In a report, they repeated calls for an extension to the exit timetable if an agreement has not been finalised and called for the Government to secure a mechanism which would also allow for any transition period to be extended.
Angela Merkel arrives in Brussels for the Summit
10.46am update: Donald Tusk fears for future of relations with US
European Council President Donald Tusk made his fears for NATO crystal clear in a letter to the 28 EU leaders.
He wrote: “Despite our tireless efforts to keep the unity of the West, transatlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump.
“Unfortunately, the divisions go beyond trade. I will share with you my political assessment of where things stand. It is my belief that, while hoping for the best, we must be ready to prepare our union for worst-case scenarios.”
10.21 update: Theresa May urges united front against Russian threat
Theresa May will call on EU leaders to strengthen defences against Russian efforts to undermine Western unity.
She will tell the summit: “Russia and other actors seem to be trying to sow disunity, destabilise our democracies and test our resolve.
“We must adapt our current defences to the ‘new normal’ and take responsibility for protecting international norms and institutions.”
10.03 update: French warn Theresa May to expect rebuke over lack of progress
French officials have warned Theresa May faced a “serious and grave” warning from fellow EU leaders about the slow progress being made on Brexit.
An aide to Emmanuel Macron said Mrs May would be rebuked over the insufficient progress, particularly on Ireland.
The aide said: “It is very urgent to finalise discussions.”
9.38am update: Merkel calls for further eurozone reform
Angela Merkel said further eurozone reform is needed to nip possible future crises in the bud after aid programmes to some member states had been successful.
She said: “The Greek programme, like others, was a huge challenge but we can say the euro is stable, the programmes are over and the countries are competitive and this was a good piece of work and a good bit of European solidarity.
“But there is still a need to reform. That is why we agreed with France to work together.”
Ms Merkel said proposals included developing the European Stability Fund into a kind of European monetary fund to help avoid potential crises.
Angela Merkel in the Bundestag this morning ahead of the EU summit
9.19am update: Merkel urges united front on migrant crisis
Angela Merkel has warned that failure to reach agreement on an EU migrant policy could be “make-or-break” for the bloc.
She said if all 28 members could not agree she would call for the creation of a coalition of the willing.
Ms Merkel also said Brussels had to better manage onward migration across EU borders and urged officials to seek agreements with African governments as they did with Turkey.
8.57am update: Shares open down ahead of EU Summit
European shares have again succumbed to trade tensions and political concerns ahead of the tense European Union summit after the stock market enjoyed a brief respite from selling in the previous session.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.1 percent while Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX managed a 0.1 percent gain.
Financials and mining shares were the biggest drags on the market, while high dividend-paying consumer staples stocks such as Nestle and Unilever, considered safer in times of market stress, made gains.
The pan-European banks sector fell 0.3 percent, extending its sharp losses this week with HSBC, UBS and Credit Suisse among the biggest fallers. Miners declined 0.6 percent.
8.36am update: Donald Trump in bizarre outburst against EU
US President Donald Trump has launched a bizarre broadside at the EU ahead of the Brussels gathering.
He told a rally in North Dakota: “We love the countries of the European Union but the European Union, of course, was set up to take advantage of the United States. To attack our piggy bank.
“And do you know what? We can’t let that happen.”
Additional reporting by Simon Osbourne.