Brexit: British prime minister to try and reach final terms with European Union chief

Updated: 05 December, 2017 11:08 IST | Agencies | Brussels

British PM to try and reach final terms for the split with EU chief, after months of negotiations, but formal deal not expected before Wednesday

British Prime Minister Theresa May was going to try to reach a deal on Brexit divorce terms with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday 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.

British Prime Minister Theresa May shakes hands with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker. pic/afp

Reaching agreement yesterday was termed "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 with Juncker, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Juncker's chief of staff Martin Selmayr. A formal decision on any deal is not expected until Wednesday, when Barnier reports to European Commissioners and then holds a press conference.

€45bn Estimated price of the divorce 

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First Published: 05 December, 2017 11:03 IST

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