Can she do it?

Theresa May is surrounded. Even on her own side she has Brexit hardliners pushing her to be bolder, Europhiles wanting her to go softer, and a growing list of lawmakers who want her gone. All this as her key Brexit legislation goes to Parliament, where the fragility of her minority government will be plain to see.
That weakness is underlined today as the opposition Labour Party offers her a deal, Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton reports. Telling her she doesn’t “have the authority” to deliver an exit deal that protects jobs and the economy, Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said May should work with the “sensible majority” in Parliament pushing for a two-year transition. There are plenty of her own Tories in that group.
A looming deadline to make a deal with Europe looks increasingly out of reach, and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is talking openly of planning for talks to break down without a deal. That raises the prospect of Brexit being off the agenda at December’s crucial EU summit.…

Staying united.

European diplomats will start hashing out today what they want from the next stage of talks, seeking a united stance they can present to the U.K.
Bloomberg’s Ian Wishart reports from Brussels that envoys from the EU27 will discuss the transition deal that the U.K. so badly wants and the outline of the future trade relationship. They will look for a common position on how long the transition should last, and what they want in return, according to a document prepared for the meeting.
The EU has adopted this strategy before: Set out a fixed position and expect the U.K. to agree to it. While the 27 have maintained a united stance in the first phase of talks, divisions are more likely once negotiations move on to the future relationship as each country will have different trade priorities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the second phase will “undeniably be more complicated than the first.”
On Wednesday, the envoys will start to discuss the ideal length of the transition phase, its s…

Diplomat Davis

Desperate for a deal in December, David Davis is turning to diplomacy.
The Brexit secretary plans a series of meetings with senior officials from Germany and elsewhere in a new diplomatic push to win over European leaders and unblock exit talks, Bloomberg’s Tim Ross reports. There’s concern on the U.K. side that some member states don’t fully appreciate the scale of Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts so far, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Talks are stuck on the issue of the divorce bill. The EU wants about 60 billion euros (£53 billion; $70 billion); May has made clear so far that she’s prepared to pay about a third of that and is going through other claims “line by line.” 
The EU wants more movement from the U.K. before it will agree to start talking about the crucial trade and transition arrangements that will be needed in just 17 months. May has already taken a politically risky leap – plenty of voters oppose paying a big bill – and the U.K. side thinks it’s time fo…

Deadly serious

What kind of say should British lawmakers have on the final Brexit deal?
That question has dominated Westminster this week as the unpredictability of the next 17 months continues to shape British politics. Meanwhile, the lack of progress in even fixing dates for further negotiation rounds is raising eyebrows on both sides of the English Channel. 
Members of Theresa May’s Conservative Party said on Thursday that they would consider rebelling against the government if it’s necessary to ensure Parliament gets a binding vote on the final deal. “We are deadly serious,” Nicky Morgan, who leads the influential Treasury Select Committee, said in the House of Commons. Ministers have promised verbally that members of Parliament will get a vote on the outcome of talks, but are resisting calls to codify this commitment in law.

An additional complication comes with the prospect that anti-Brexit campaigners are considering a legal challenge against the government over the lack of a binding vote, accor…

La factura del Brexit bloquea el paso a la segunda fase de negociación

Los Veintisiete hacen un gesto a Londres al prometer analizar ya la relación futura
El impulso dado para desencallar el Brexit no puede enmascarar el principal escollo en el camino: la disputada factura de salida que tendrá que pagar Reino Unido. Los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Unión Europea han querido tender la mano a la primera ministra británica, Theresa May, pero advirtiendo de que, en la concreción de las cuentas, queda todo por hacer. “Ofrecí un compromiso firme”, ha alegado May tras la cumbre europea concluida este viernes en Bruselas. “Está muy claro que se necesitan más pasos”, ha opuesto la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel.
La puesta en escena que ofrecieron las dos cabezas visibles de la UE —el presidente de la Comisión, Jean-Claude Juncker, y el del Consejo, Donald Tusk— al término de la reunión de gobernantes revela bien la disyuntiva. Bruselas es consciente de que no ha habido progresos suficientes en el Brexit, como esperaba poder constatar en octubre, pero prete…

Who are EU talking to?

European governments are starting to say in public what they’ve long hinted in private: they don’t know how to deal with a U.K. government that is so divided on Brexit that no one knows what it wants.
In unusually candid comments, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told the BBC on Tuesday that the government’s internal disputes made it a difficult negotiating partner.
“It is quite a difficult negotiation when people who want to leave the European Union in Britain don’t really seem to agree among themselves what that actually means.”
Others have also come out publicly to say what’s been hobbling negotiations, which have stalled again only weeks after Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Florence. That had fueled hope on the EU side that some progress could be made. A European summit on Thursday and Friday – originally slated as the date when talks would move on from the divorce settlement to future trade arrangements – will yield little on the Brexit front, with leaders planning encourag…

Brexit talks have reached a deadlock.

Brexit talks have reached a deadlock, and the U.K. is pinning its hopes on European leaders to find a way out. The problem is no-one in Europe really wants to help.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was convinced that “with political will” progress is “within our grasp” in the next two months. The Brits understood his comments as an “elegant cry for help” aimed at European leaders, Bloomberg’s Tim Ross reports. Others saw it differently, with the onus put firmly on the U.K.’s squabbling government to find something else to offer.

As EU leaders prepare to meet next week at the summit that was initially penciled in as the start of trade talks, the 27 countries are maintaining a united front. Their position is unchanged: the U.K. needs to make clear its intentions on the financial settlement before the future relationship can be discussed.
Prime Minister Theresa May is vulnerable, and could even be toppled and succeeded by a hardliner, but even that prospect isn’t raising the chanc…