At last, EU chiefs give green light for talks on trade deal
EU leaders will give the green light next week for Brexit talks about a trade deal with the UK, it emerged last night.
The breakthrough follows pleas by Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
They want European political chiefs to end the ‘disturbing’ stalemate in Brexit talks by loosening their rigid rules.
In a boost to Britain, the bloc’s leaders will finally start drawing up plans for a future trading relationship with Britain.
Theresa May has repeatedly said that the UK will refrain from finalising the ‘divorce bill’ unless Brussels opens up talks.
A leaked document last night revealed that the EU is finally willing to make the move at a European Council summit next week. The document – draft conclusions for next week’s summit composed by Euro- pean Council president Donald Tusk – states that officials will allow Mr Barnier and his team to start ‘internal preparatory discussions’ on a post-Brexit transition period and trading relationship.
While falling short of the full trade talks with Britain that Downing Street previously hoped would be opened, the development will be seen as a breakthrough in London.
Mr Barnier said a breakthrough was ‘within our grasp’ if the EU’s leading powers show the ‘political will’. But he also criticised the Government’s ‘ very disturbing’ refusal to pay a £90billion divorce bill.
The head of the International Monetary Fund said she ‘cannot imagine’ a situation where there will be no Brexit deal.
Christine Lagarde urged EU negotiators to reach a deal as soon as possible.