PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s two most powerful leaders, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron, will meet just days before a crunch Brexit summit next week which Britain says is the last chance to secure an orderly departure from the bloc.
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during her visit of Herrenknecht AG in Schwanau, Germany, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
As the clock ticks down to the Oct. 31 departure date, Brexit descended into a public row between London and Brussels this week as both sides position for another delay followed by an election or an acrimonious divorce.
After a Downing Street source said a Brexit deal was essentially impossible because German Chancellor Merkel had made unacceptable demands, the EU accused Johnson of playing a “stupid blame game”. [nL5N26T1EZ]
Macron will meet Merkel at the Elysee Palace this coming Sunday to discuss European affairs ahead of the Oct. 17-18 EU summit and preparations for a Franco-German summit on Oct. 16, Macron’s office said.
EU diplomats, though, are sceptical about the chances of a deal. Most expect Johnson to be forced to accept a delay to Brexit – a step that could ultimately lead to either a disorderly exit or the reversal of the entire Brexit endeavor.
“There will be no rabbit-out-of-the-hat solutions,” one EU official told Reuters. “There will be more talks and more political contacts. But, for the time being, there is no breakthrough to be reported.”
Johnson has repeatedly cast the EU summit next week as the last chance for the EU to strike a deal or face the disruption of a no-deal Brexit that would divide the West, threaten the unity of the United Kingdom and roil financial markets.