British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday started a last-minute flurry of European diplomacy that includes visits to Paris and Berlin as she prepares for a make-or-break Brexit summit. Still struggling to get her EU divorce deal through parliament, May is hoping European Union leaders will agree on Wednesday to delay Brexit for a second time to stop Britain crashing out of the bloc two days later.
European Council President Donald Tusk is proposing to offer the UK a 12-month flexible extension to its Brexit date, according to a senior EU source. His plan would allow the UK to leave sooner if Parliament ratifies a deal, but it would need to be agreed by EU leaders at a summit next week.
Theresa May will return to Brussels for Brexit talks this weekend as the UK and EU strive to do a deal in time for Sunday's summit of European leaders. After a two-hour meeting with EU officials, the prime minister said progress was being made on the future shape of EU-UK relations.
Germany has urged UK's Theresa May to “take responsibility” for Brexit, as a crunch summit approaches with no sign of any breakthrough in negotiations. The Prime Minister was briefing senior ministers in an extended session of Cabinet ahead of Wednesday’s European Council meeting at which it had initially been hoped to conclude the UK’s withdrawal deal.
Donald Tusk has poured cold water on hopes of a Brexit breakthrough at Wednesday's EU summit, saying the Irish border was still a sticking point. The European Council president said he had no grounds for optimism it would be solved at the summit and called on Theresa May to come up with concrete proposals to break the impasse.
A spokesman for the European Commission said calmness not drama was needed during the critical end phase of negotiating a withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Italy has dispatched two ships to help take 629 migrants stuck off its shores to Spain after the new populist government refused them safe port in a bid to force Europe to share the burden of unrelenting arrivals. The rescue ship Aquarius has been stuck since Saturday in international waters off the coast of Italy and Malta, both of which have refused it entry. The ship is carrying 629 migrants including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and six pregnant women.
British PM David Cameron has said he “genuinely looked to reach an agreement” at the EU summit but vetoed treaty change because it was not in the national interest. Cameron told MPs he negotiated in “good faith” and his demands were “modest, reasonable and relevant”.
Attempts to rescue the Euro will focus on a deal among the 17 nations that use the single currency, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said early Friday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet on Monday in Paris the kick off for a round of talks involving European leaders, the European Central Bank (ECB) and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, culminating in Brussels on Friday with an EU summit.