EU27 won’t take Brexit decision at summit
Senior official said heads of state and government may be briefed on progress of trade talks but will not take action.
Deal or no deal with the U.K. will not be the question at a European Council summit later this week.
A senior EU official said Wednesday that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen may brief the EU heads of state and government on the status of the talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement, but that leaders will not debate the matter, let alone vote to approve any potential deal.
“There is not the intention to have a decision or a debate on the item,” the senior official said. “What we might have is a debrief of the state of play of the situation by the president of the European Commission, still subject to confirmation just to take stock of where we are. There is no decision or milestone at this stage.”
The comments indicate that even if there is a breakthrough in discussions between von der Leyen and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who are due to meet for dinner Wednesday, the EU27 national leaders will need more time to review the details before engaging with each other on the merits of any proposed agreement.
Any tentative deal secured by von der Leyen or her chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, must be approved unanimously by all 27 EU member counties, and must be ratified by the European and British parliaments. Officials have warned that time is extremely short for such a rigorous review process before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Despite the time pressure, the senior official said that EU leaders do not want the already-heavy agenda of their summit disrupted by Brexit. They are due to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, as well as dispute over a rule of law mechanism that has stalled the bloc’s landmark €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery package, as well as relations with Turkey, with the United States, climate change and other issues.
Pressed on Brexit, the official said leaders would still need far more information about details in any proposed agreement. “We don’t want to be dragged into a debate on this,” the official said.Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a complimentary trial.