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After another week of Brexit logjam, the EU is convinced its position is stronger than ever.
European Council President Charles Michel and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, met on Friday to compare notes, a day after the latest round of talks ended with Brussels and London still far apart.
Michel, and EU27 national leaders, have focused far more attention in recent weeks on negotiating a historic €1.82 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery package. Now that a budget deal is struck, EU leaders are convinced it strengthens their hand in Brexit talks too, according to EU officials.
After conferring with Barnier on Friday, the Council president sent a clear message that the bloc feels well-prepared for a no-deal scenario. Michel, posting on Twitter, noted that the landmark budget deal reached Tuesday also created a €5 billion off-budget fund, called the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, designed to prop up governments, businesses and industries hardest hit if no deal is struck with the U.K. by when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
He also tweaked London about how long the process has dragged on. “More than four years after the U.K. voted to leave, talks on a future relationship are still ongoing,” he wrote.
EU officials said success in reaching a budget deal with its contingency provisions, and the positive reaction in the financial markets, had already bolstered EU27 economies and raised confidence among leaders and the negotiating team. In particular, they are resolved to stick to the EU’s core demands,