UK and EU may drop Oc­to­ber Brexit dead­line

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Foreign News -

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.

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