Waiting for May, Brussels Eyes December Brexit Deal
When Theresa May visits Brussels on Friday, EU negotiators will be listening intently for signs the British prime minister is preparing to risk a domestic backlash and raise her offer to secure a Brexit deal in December, Reuters reports.
European Union officials and diplomats from the other 27 member states involved in the process hope that within a week to 10 days of meeting European Council President Donald Tusk, during a summit with ex-Soviet neighbors, May will deliver movement on three key conditions so that her EU peers can launch a new phase of Brexit negotiations when they meet on Dec. 14-15.
“I don’t know what room for maneuver May has, but what we can see is a willingness to act,” one senior EU official told Reuters. Another spoke of efforts to arrange the “choreography” of a deal over the next three weeks, including a possible EU-UK “joint report” on interim accords to unlock talks on trade.
“I feel the tectonic plates moving now,” a diplomat handling Brexit for an EU government said. “Time is running out and a failure in the December Council would serve nobody’s purpose.”
There has been only a day of top-level talks between the two lead negotiators since a mid-October summit that dismissed May’s call for immediate talks on a future trade agreement.
But talks are continuing apace behind the scenes, participants say, ahead of a deadline of early December to strike a deal which can then be fully formalized by the 27 government leaders at the summit.
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