EU leaders put together hardball Brexit summit selection for May

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union leaders will give British Prime Minister Theresa May a tricky reception in Brussels on Wednesday, warning her to rally assist at home for the Brexit deal on provide or be reduce unfastened with out one in March.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May talks to staff at WPP who have come via micro fellowships and apprenticeships, after a roundtable assembly with business leaders whose firms are inaugural signatories of the Race at Work Charter, on the Southbank Centre in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

May will handle the opposite 27 EU nationwide leaders at a summit earlier than they sit right down to dinner with out her. Officials mentioned they anticipated the leaders to inform May they have little extra to supply since talks stalled on Sunday and they’re going to step up preparations for Britain to drop out of the bloc with no deal.

Summit chair Donald Tusk warned that the chance of a “no deal” dumping Britain out of the bloc and iuknto authorized limbo and border chaos on March 29 was better than ever. He put the onus on May to convey a “creative” answer to interrupt the deadlock over the EU-UK land border on the island of Ireland.

Tusk known as it a “Gordian Knot”, making clear he didn’t see May as a recent “Alexander the Great”, able to slicing via the tangle of opposition she faces in London and Belfast over her Brexit plan as a way to clinch a treaty with the EU.

The “no deal” message is honest sufficient. It can be a tactic to strain a negotiating accomplice the EU views as weak. And it would simply assist May by giving her the type of political theatre helpful in persuading Britons she has fought for the perfect deal.

More subtly, leaders may additionally sound relaxed on the calendar for talks. On Tuesday, officers echoed the mantra that “the clock is ticking” to agree a treaty that parliaments can ratify in time for Brexit. But, sensing extra urgency in London, senior EU officers mentioned Brussels would “keep calm and carry on”, prepared to attend until December and even later to clinch a remaining settlement.

“For now, Britain is negotiating with Britain,” Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders mentioned, referring to May’s troubles along with her personal cupboard and supporters. “We need more weeks to see if we can get a deal. We’ll work calmly.”

Germany’s Europe minister known as on May to “take responsibility and be constructive”. But some diplomats imagine May could possibly be unable to maneuver once more in negotiations till after she has steered her finances via parliament in early November.


Leaders will resolve at dinner after May has left them on whether or not to agency up a tentative plan to carry a particular Brexit summit in mid-November. But Tusk mentioned they would want to imagine deal was almost completed — and with out some new transfer from May in Brussels, that perception appears unlikely to come this week.

“There needs to be a much clearer, sharper messaging on the choice the UK faces,” one senior diplomat informed fellow nationwide envoys after talks broke down on Sunday. The EU had gone so far as it may to handle May’s difficulties along with her hardline pro-Brexit and Northern Irish allies, he mentioned — now the summit should not let May assume issues have been simply carrying on as regular.

Quite how powerful the EU message is to May after Wednesday’s dinner will depend upon her strategy, diplomats mentioned. If she brings to Brussels the uncompromising tone they heard a month in the past in Salzburg, when name-calling on each side hit a low, then the EU warnings of impending calamity will step up a notch.

EU chief govt Jean-Claude Juncker will inform leaders after May has spoken on Wednesday night about his European Commission’s plans for a “no deal”. Officials say that may embody how one can rush via emergency EU laws to deal with big disruption to move and commerce hyperlinks.

The Commission had deliberate to release its proposals final week however held off, officers mentioned, as a result of Brexit negotiators didn’t wish to bitter what was an more and more optimistic temper in talks behind the scenes. The brick wall these talks hit over the Irish border difficulty has flipped round that logic.

Some EU leaders, notably President Emmanuel Macron of France which faces questions over intensive cross-Channel commerce and visitors, need rather more public readability to indicate that the bloc may deal with chopping Britain out of EU laws.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald ; @macdonaldrtr; Editing by Gareth Jones

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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