Op­ti­mism rises for Brexit break­through next week

Tulsa World - - Front Page - By Raf Casert

BRUS­SELS — With just days to go be­fore a key Brexit sum­mit next week, op­ti­mism is grow­ing that a deal can be reached to en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion for Bri­tain's exit from the Euro­pean Union.

Euro­pean Union Com­mis­sioner Guen­ther Oet­tinger said Fri­day that he sees room for a break­through in the talks next week, when lead­ers from the 27 EU na­tions meet with Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May.

Oet­tinger con­firmed re­ports that progress was be­ing made on the dif­fi­cult is­sue of the bor­der on the is­land of Ire­land.

“It does ap­pear pos­si­ble there will be a break­through,” he said.

Dutch Prime Min­is­ter Mark Rutte said he spoke to May by phone on Fri­day and added that “we hope that next week at the Euro­pean sum­mit, if at all pos­si­ble, the first results emerge.”

“I am cau­tiously op­ti­mistic that we can take steps next week but a lot de­pends on the talks hap­pen­ing in the com­ing days,” Rutte said at his weekly press con­fer­ence.

Even if the ne­go­tia­tors them­selves agree on a deal, it is not the end of the mat­ter. The EU lead­ers must also back the deal and then so must the Bri­tish and EU par­lia­ments.

May in par­tic­u­lar is likely to have a tough time sell­ing a deal to the House of Com­mons, which is di­vided on the is­sue of Brexit and on what terms to leave the EU.

The U.K. is slated to leave the EU on March 29. If there is no deal on fu­ture re­la­tions by then, wide­spread chaos on the bor­ders is ex­pected.

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