EU diplomats expect delay in Brexit deal beyond October target

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are likely to have to hold an emergency summit in November to consider any Brexit agreement struck with Britain, missing an informal deadline the previous month, diplomats in Brussels said.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier shake hands during a joint news conference in Brussels, Belgium July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo/File Photo

Negotiations on the divorce deal resume after the summer break on Tuesday, but expectations that they can be wrapped up for a regular EU summit in October are fading.

Some diplomats told Reuters the process could even slip into December, leaving little time for ratification of an agreement before Britain becomes the first country ever to leave the bloc in March 2019.

“There is definitely going to be a real push for October and we’ll probably not be able to quite get there. So, while it has not formally been confirmed as yet, an extra summit in November looks most likely,” said a senior EU diplomat.

Agreeing the terms of Brexit, as well as an outline of Britain’s future ties with the EU, is proving a tall order. Delays have stirred talk that Britain could crash out of the EU with no agreements to replace nearly five decades of close cooperation in everything from food standards to space exploration and global diplomacy.

Brexit secetary Dominic Raab and the EU negotiator Michel Barnier meet at 1230 GMT in Brussels.

The Oct. 18-19 summit of all EU leaders has long been cast as the make-or-break moment for a Brexit deal, leaving enough time for the elaborate ratification process by EU member states and the European Parliament.

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