British Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Brussels today to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, ahead of a decisive EU summit this week, a Downing Street source said. May will be joined by her Brexit Minister David Davis for the dinner to discuss Thursday’s summit of EU leaders — where Britain’s departure from the block will be high on the agenda — the source said.
Broader European and geopolitical issues will also be on the table at the meeting, which will be attended by May’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins and Juncker’s cabinet chief Martin Selmayr, an EU source told AFP.
While Downing Street insisted the meeting has been in the diary for weeks, the British premier’s arrival in Brussels brings with it a sense of urgency after last week’s disappointing Brexit talks.
The fifth round of discussions ended on Thursday with EU negotiator Michel Barnier, who is also expected at today’s dinner, warning the two sides were at an “extremely disturbing” deadlock over Britain’s Brexit bill.
Brussels has insisted on reaching progress on its three priorities — the exit bill, citizens’ rights, and the border with Ireland — before moving on to talks of a future relationship with London.
The British government had hoped to have achieved sufficient progress in the negotiations by the upcoming summit in order to press on with discussions of a future partnership, but Barnier said last week he “cannot recommend” such a step forward.