UK and EU may drop October Brexit deadline
LONDON: The UK and the European Union still say in public they want a Brexit deal wrapped up in the next seven weeks. Behind the scenes, though, senior officials on both sides admit this is unlikely.
They now aim to finalise divorce terms by the middle of November at the latest, according to people familiar with the British and European positions, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the discussions are private.
The longer timeframe is another indication that negotiators are struggling to make headway, and the risk is that the closer talks run to the UK’s exit on March 29, the greater the chance that there won’t be a deal.
The EU summit beginning Oct 18 had been earmarked as the deadline, after earlier hopes of resolving the divorce by June faded away.
If the deadline is pushed back again into December or January, both sides would face perilous choices over whether to give ground or give up on talks.
Negotiations have been painfully slow since an agreement on a transitional period was reached in March.