European Union leaders met for a summit in Salzburg, Austria, with Brexit and migration on the agenda.
Theresa May last night urged EU leaders to stop trying to break up the UK as she warned there were just two months left to strike a Brexit deal.
This was a meeting of premiers, not the negotiators, and as Prime Minister May spoke directly to her counterparts at a dinner she made it clear that if an agreement were not reached by the end of a special Brexit summit pencilled in for mid-November, the UK would not seek to extend the negotiations.
At the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said a Brexit deal was “far away.” The Irish Prime Minister weighed in and said there had been no progress in talks since March. The U.K.’s Theresa May said there will be no extension to Britain’s membership to give negotiators more time.
Brexit negotiations are creeping towards the deadline and nor the EU or the UK can afford to carry on throwing jabs. It’s time for business; nuckle down or fold, either way the UK needs the direction. The chances of surviving this deal for May are near non-existent. But neither party can continue to swap jibes and point fingers as the Brexit clock starts ticking.
Even the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted how the EU leaders are hard-balling the PM, giving her a mediocre 10 minutes to fight her case, like a token gesture.
Seems it really was ten minutes at the very end of the dinner that the PM had to make her case
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) September 19, 2018
One of the key factors with her premiership is legacy based. As well aiming for the best deal for the UK, the PM also wants to limit the damage to her public opinion. She can’t seem weak or a defeatist. No outcome will ever be as good as staying in, but the next best option is to have a smooth transition.
That is the absolute minimum for her, to have any chance of having any kind of re-election hope, if she wishes to stand that is. The future holds a failing currency, mass migration of city professionals and a ‘Brexit cold’ ergo a faltering economy.
Less we forget this was a job nobody really wanted and you can see the politically savvy Boris Johnson and Davis, distancing themselves from the plans, to save any hope of leadership of the party in the future.
A special summit is set to be called for mid-November, for a final Brexit deal to be done. You can expect this meeting to be similar to John Major’s negotiations from the Maastricht Treaty where he secured a number of opt-outs regarding social policy and membership of the single currency.
But chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said late Tuesday that the U.K. couldn’t postpone decisions until then, and would have to come up with new proposals in time for the next summit in October.
The benefits of Brexit seem a distance dream now, for the remain camp and indeed a considerable portion of the brexiteers.
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