EU leaders sour on chances of Brexit deal

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Brussels is clear: the U.K. has lost the room and — maybe — its chances for a trade deal with it.

Brexit was just a brief information point at the European Council summit which wrapped Friday but the mood was clear around the leaders’ table, EU officials and diplomats said.

“When I try to take to feel the temperature in the European Council, what is the temperature between the member states — we are united, no doubt on that — but there is the impression more and more that it will be very difficult to get a deal with the U.K.,” said a senior EU official. “Because we don’t have the impression that they put on the table a real margin in order to make a deal possible.”

The senior official cited “this growing feeling” among some leaders “that maybe, maybe a no-deal can be less worse than a bad agreement.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a somewhat more positive tone, telling reporters following the summit that the deal struck between the U.K. and Norway on fisheries earlier this week showed Britain remains on a “constructive path” in negotiations with neighbors.

“We want a deal because we think it is better to have a deal as neighbors” — Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who delivered an update on negotiations to EU heads of state and government, was pessimistic. She told the summit’s closing news conference she would speak by videoconference with U.K.

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