Stepping back from the cliff edge has begun. Chequers is not dead – says the EU

The salvage job has already begun and a better verdict sought than disaster.  If Salzburg was not all a misunderstanding, it was more like a farce without the laughs. People literally passed each other in the night.  Theresa May’s ten minute pitch over dinner, followed by a leaders’ chat over lunch next day without her was hardly the stuff and style of diplomacy. In the gap between the two meals,  rumours and spin raised  suspicions and fears about  British intentions …

Read more…

Chequers: they thought it was all over. It is now. Brexit brinkmanship or bust

Donald Tusk President of the EU Council At our EU27 working lunch today we had a good discussion on Brexit, which once again reconfirmed our full unity. Let me highlight three points. First, we reconfirmed that there will be no Withdrawal Agreement without a solid, operational and legally binding Irish backstop. And we continue to fully support Michel Barnier in his efforts to find such a model. Second, we agreed to have a joint political declaration that provides as much …

Read more…

French President Francois Hollande :”The negotiations will be conducted with the United Kingdom, not with a part of the United Kingdom”

With the UK Parliament sovereign, and Sinn Féin’s calls for a border poll dismissed as an unwelcome distraction, quite where the “very special place” Martin McGuinness thinks Northern Ireland is in isn’t entirely clear.  Nor whom he thinks he can press that “case” with in his attempt to ignore the UK-wide referendum result.  He should remember, however, that neither he nor his party, alone, speak for the Northern Ireland Executive. He should also pay very close attention to the responses the Scottish First Minister is …

Read more…

European Council President on Greek Crisis: “the final deadline ends this week”

Following what the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is reported to have described as a “very long, intensive”, “very clear and candid discussion” at the emergency summit of Eurozone leaders in Brussels tonight, some details are emerging of the next steps in the continuing Greek crisis.  From the Guardian’s live blog. Europe has given Athens one last chance to produce a credible economic reform plan that could underpin a new bailout.  It has also threatened that Greece will leave the Eurozone …

Read more…