With time running out for a withdrawal agreement to be reached between Britain and the European Union, apprehension is rising in Brussels, and capital cities across Europe. Negotiations between Theresa May’s government and the EU appear to be going nowhere. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit being the end result continues to haunt both sides. A number of EU leaders have begun contingency planning, and serious preparation in case a no-deal Brexit becomes reality and Britain crashes out of the EU. National leaders are expected to begin ratcheting up the pressure on May, and emphasize that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for businesses in Britain, and in the EU alike. A preview of the line EU leaders will take with May was offered in Copenhagen on Wednesday. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, informed his parliament: “It is the first time we are saying clearly to the British that we can end, in the worst scenario, with no deal.”
Tomorrow night, May will speak at a dinner in Brussels as the EU Summit opens. She is expected to outline the intentions of the British government in the coming weeks regarding negotiations. There has been little progress made on key issues such as the Irish Border question, and the future of Gibraltar. Dissention in May’s cabinet has not helped matters at all. She is convening a meeting of her ministers at Chequers on Friday and the hope is that some sort of agreement can be reached.
For the EU, Brexit will be overshadowed by migration. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political fate could very well be decided at the upcoming summit. Failure to reach some type of agreement with other nations on migrants runs the risk of toppling the precarious German government.
It could very well end up being to May’s favor that the focus of Merkel, and other EU leaders is firmly fixed on the migration crisis, and not Brexit. Should this turn out to be the case, it will give May some much-needed time to get Britain’s ducks in a row before negotiations on Brexit resume in the future.