THERESA May last night threw out an EU ultimatum to agree a Brexit deal within 24 hours to insist she will keep talking right down to the wire.
Germany and Brussels chiefs laid down hard deadlines for a text to be finalised by the end of today, or they would rip up Sunday’s landmark summit to sign it off.
Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker had a 90-minute meeting last night from which the PM said there are still some ‘remaining issues’ to be solved[/caption]
The PM flew to Brussels for a 90 minute meeting with EU Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker last night.
Emerging from it, she said there are still some “remaining issues” to be thrashed out in the final 72 hour countdown, and she would “return for further meetings, including with President Junker, on Saturday”.
But Mrs May said “further progress” had been made, adding: “We have given sufficient direction to our negotiators.
“I hope for them to be able to resolve the remaining issues and that work will start immediately.”
In her talks with him, the PM is thought to have demanded future hi-tech solutions are spelled out in the Political Declaration for a future trade deal[/caption]
In the meeting with Mr Juncker, the PM is believed to have demanded future technological solutions are spelled out in the political declaration for a future trade deal as an alternative method to keep the Irish border open.
The PM also wants closer ties on trade explained in more detail, including her plea for a common rule book on goods.
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Mrs May not to try and reopen the controversial Irish backstop.
In a boost for Mrs May, serious splits have emerged between EU members on how to finalise the deal.
Officials on both sides were told to keep talking overnight to solve final problems[/caption]
The 24 hour ultimatum was also a warning shot for squabbling Member States to fall back in line.
While France is demanding fishing rights are included in a future deal and Spain insist on a veto over Gibraltar, countries including Germany insist nothing more should be added to last week’s draft.
Mrs Merkel wants the deal fully sewn up well in advance of the meeting, but French president Emmanuel Macron is calling for a proper debate between leaders on Sunday.
The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Channel 4 News came to Mrs May’s help to say: “She knows she can rely on Poland.
If ‘remaining issues’ are solved, a new draft text for the final Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration for a future trade deal could be released today[/caption]
“I actually believe that with Germany and Austria and the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries we have a majority of stabilising countries which want to create the space for a deal for the UK government.”
Earlier, Eurocrats tried to pour scorn on Mrs May’s hopes of negotiating directly with Member States over the withdrawal pact and trade blueprint on Sunday.
Instead Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis set Thursday as the deadline for a “final text” if a summit is to happen.
He said: “We’ll need to have agreed beforehand on the Political Declaration on the future relationship and we’re not there yet.
“Sherpas are due to meet on Friday. Of course they will need to see a final text before then.”
German leader Angela Merkel warned Theresa May not to try to reopen the Irish backstop issue[/caption]
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No10 insisted last night that Mrs May still expected Sunday’s meeting of all 28 EU leaders to go ahead.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “A summit has been called, an agenda has been published and we look forward to attending”.
An EU Commission spokesman said last night: “Very good progress was made in the meeting between President Juncker and Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Work is continuing.”
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