The European Union leaders could help Theresa May to unlock the stalled Brexit negotiations by launching their own internal preparations for a transition to a new relationship with the United Kingdom. Drafts submitted by President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, to the 27 EU capitals made final Brussels’ rejection of opening free trade talks now. However, they also gave the beleaguered Mrs. May hope that they would do so by the end of this year and that if she ups her offers on Brexit terms, the EU will be ready to start talking almost right away.
Michel Bernier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, announced this week that another round of talks had ended in a continued deadlock over lack of clarity on how much Britain will pay on leaving. He added though that despite tough demands from EU capitals on what they want from London, the EU is ready to talk about how to avoid a “hard Brexit” and how to ease the country out with less disruption. Analysts think that this could also be achieved by agreeing to keep Britain in the single market for a couple of years. Mr. Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis, however, added that both sides had been able to make some progress on citizens’ rights and the Irish border.
Without a good idea of what a transition period could look like, foreign companies in Britain could start moving their operations to the continent for fear of a “hard Brexit”. British hardliners have demanded that Mrs. May resist EU demands and be ready to leave the bloc without a deal, which have left the EU unsure of where the Brexit talks might lead.