EU summon envoys Amid Brexit deal talk

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Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier are seen ahead of a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

EU Brexit negotiators summoned national envoys and journalists at short notice on Monday as speculation mounted among diplomats of an interim deal to grant Britain a transition — though some urged caution.

“There could be a deal,” one senior EU diplomat said. Another, however, played down talk that good progress in negotiations with Britain over the weekend had covered enough ground to assure London of a transition deal after Brexit.

A major sticking point is Britain’s reluctance to agree to terms on the Irish border set out in a separate part of the draft withdrawal treaty currently under discussion.

Britain has been hoping for an interim accord on the transition to ease fears among businesses before Prime Minister Theresa May meets fellow EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. The following day, the other leaders are expected to agree terms for talks on future trade relations and May hopes that they will also endorse the interim accord on transition.

 

Zainab Sa’id