British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to reach a deal on Brexit divorce terms with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday as months of tense negotiations reach a decisive moment.
The European Union says their working lunch in Brussels is the “absolute deadline” for progress on separation issues, or else it will be unable to approve the opening of talks on a future trade relationship at a summit on December 15.
Reaching agreement on Monday will be “difficult but doable”, a senior EU diplomat told AFP, with divisions remaining on the fate of the Irish border and the rights of European citizens living in Britain.
London has however rejected the EU’s deadline, and appears keen to push the issue to the wire.
“With plenty of discussions still to go, Monday will be an important staging post on the road to the crucial December Council,” a British government spokesman said in a statement.
Talks continued over the weekend, May’s Downing Street office said.
May, Brexit minister David Davis and the prime minister’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins will have lunch in Brussels at 1215 GMT with Juncker, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr.
The British prime minister will also meet European Council President Donald Tusk, who is in charge of summits, Downing Street said.