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EU leaders 'set to rebuff' Theresa May in her bid to break Brexit deadlock

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

EU leaders are set to rebuff Theresa May in her quest to move the Brexit negotiations onto discussions over trade, it has been reported.

The 27 member states are unlikely to amend a draft conclusion there has been insufficient progress for the talks to progress when they meet for the European Council summit tonight, according to the Guardian.

And the Prime Minister will not be able to discuss her demands with the EU leaders - barring her from going over the head of Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier, a separate report has said.

The EU has insisted talks on a future trade deal between Britain and the bloc cannot commence until ‘sufficient progress’ has been made on the so-called ‘divorce bill’ and EU citizens rights.

According to the Guardian, EU leaders will let Mrs May down gently to avoid humiliating her back in the UK. It means her next chance to move the talks on will be in December.

“There are ways to say it kindly and encouragingly or less kindly and less encouraging,” a diplomat told the paper.

Another said the heads of state thought “British politics is so unstable, concessions at this stage are premature”.

Meanwhile, the Independent said there will be no face-to-face discussion after Mrs May’s talk to heads of state this evening, as it would break the rule that negotiations must go through Mr Barnier.

The Prime Minister will also to push the process forward today with a declaration to EU citizens living in Britain that they can stay after Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will also travel to Brussels today to meet with Mr Barnier and other key figures ahead of Mrs May.


It comes as senior members of the Leave campaign urged Mrs May to threaten to walk away from the negotiating table if EU leaders refuse to talk about trade.

Four former Cabinet ministers - including Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Nigel Lawson - as well as MPs, business leaders and academics, accused the EU of “deliberately” stalling talks.

In an open letter, they said Mrs May must be ready to “formally declare” that Britain will quit the bloc without a deal in March 2019 and fall back on World Trade Organisation rules.

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