Brexit Up-date on the eve of the EU Summit.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May struck a calmer and yet still optimistic tone in Parliament on Monday and on the other side of the Channel the tone was more constructive too. On the eve of a decisive summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said he thought “collective intelligence” would prevail.
Interesting choice of words considering the riddle of the Irish border continues to puzzel Brexit negotiators which has been ongoing since the start of the year. Britain and the European Union can't even agree on how to define the so-called “backstop” an insurance policy written into the Brexit deal to make sure that whatever happens in the future there is no policed border on the island.
But both sides sound like they still want a deal. May said on Monday that the two sides were not “far apart,” and said the outline was becoming clear. She’ll discuss Brexit at a full Cabinet meeting today. EU President Donald Tusk said there’s goodwill on each side, even as he warned that no-deal was more likely than ever.
Bloomberg reported that Teneo Intelligence reckons an agreement is still the most likely outcome, and the drama is a necessary part of the diplomacy. “What has been playing out is a choreography designed for domestic consumption in the U.K.,” the research group said. “More British grandstanding is required over the coming weeks for Prime Minister Theresa May to receive backing in Westminster.”
Leaders will have a chance to move things along when they meet for dinner Wednesday night. May will address them beforehand, and is then expected to leave the other 27 to talk Brexit without her. The invitation to May has finally now gone out, and she’s formally accepted.
We might get a better sense of how the negotiations are going later today, when chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier briefs the European affairs ministers of the 27 in Luxembourg. Tusk and Barnier meet today to prepare for the leaders’ Brexit discussion over dinner. Tusk, who took at least some of the blame for the disastrous Salzburg summit last month, called for both sides to keep working to overcome the obstacles.