November Brexit summit requires deal breakthrough in days: EU sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union believes a breakthrough on a Brexit treaty must come within a week if its leaders are to endorse any deal with Britain this month, several official and diplomatic sources in Brussels told Reuters on Wednesday.

An EU summit tentatively scheduled for next weekend, Nov. 17-18 is no longer on the cards due to a lack of the “decisive progress” towards a final deal on the Irish border, the sources said on a day when EU summit chair Donald Tusk spoke to Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss how to proceed.

In an indication that EU negotiator Michel Barnier’s team is still waiting for a response from London on proposed compromises on a mechanism to avoid Brexit disrupting the sensitive Irish border, an update of EU national envoys in Brussels from the bloc’s negotiators was delayed from Wednesday to Friday.

Some diplomats have speculated that May could use her visit to Belgium for World War One commemorations on Friday to make a dash to Brussels to lock in an agreement, if she gets her cabinet behind it by then.

Barnier needs to see “decisive progress” in the talks to recommend to Tusk that a summit should be called.

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