May attends Brexit dinner in Brussels

Cheryl Sanders
October 16, 2017

However, Barnier said last week that he could not recommend progressing to the second phase since there had not been sufficient progress in the first phase.

May's unexpected meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Michel Barnier follows Barnier's warning last week that the latest round of talks ended in a "disturbing deadlock" over Britain's financial obligations to the bloc.

This followed an attempt by Mrs May last month to revive talks by promising Britain would honour its European Union commitments.

The U.K. insisted Brexit negotiations had reached a point where sufficient progress had been made to take the talks to the second stage, where the future relationship between the U.K. and the European Union could be discussed. As time ticks down to withdrawal in March 2019, concern is rising across Europe that the process may collapse.

But EU leaders say May has been too vague in her offer of a financial settlement, which some diplomats blame on a fear that to agree even a very rough a figure would spark a backlash from hardline Brexit supporters such as Johnson.

Even that has run into resistance, notably from heavyweights Germany and France.

"As regards the Article 50 negotiations, both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union", the statement said.

May would be accompanied by Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis and is scheduled to meet other heads of state before the EU leaders' summit on Friday.

The issue of citizens' rights is one of the main issues to be dealt with during the negotiations, along with the land borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Gibraltar and Spain.

After a similar meeting at 10 Downing Street in late April, May was irritated by leaked accounts of Juncker's "shock" at what he said were unrealistic British expectations.

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