Ball in Your Court, Desperate May Tells EU on Brexit Talks

Ball in Your Court, Desperate May Tells EU on Brexit TalksBall in Your Court, Desperate May Tells EU on Brexit Talks

Britain and its European Union partners clashed on Monday over which side should make the next move to unblock Brexit talks, despite concerns they will miss a deadline for a divorce deal and that London is heading for a chaotic departure.

Prime Minister Theresa May made clear in speech she was to deliver to parliament that she hoped her EU partners would make proposals at a new round of talks opening the way to the next stage of negotiations, saying “the ball is in their court”, Reuters reported.

But even before she had delivered the speech, an EU spokesman hit back in Brussels, saying “the ball is entirely in the UK court for the rest to happen”.

May is desperate to try to regain some of her authority and refocus on talks to unravel more than 40 years of union after a speech at her party conference last week, marred by a repetitive cough, a prankster and a stage malfunction, left her weaker than ever.

She has so far fought off attempts to unseat her by critics already angry over an ill-judged election when she lost her governing Conservatives’ majority, but her weakness has opened the door for many in her party to challenge her Brexit strategy with just 18 months to go before Britain leaves the EU.

With Brussels quietly preparing for a collapse in the talks and Britain getting ready for what May calls “all eventualities”, some officials and business chiefs worry the country will crash out of the EU without a deal.

May, who will host businesses later on Monday to listen to their Brexit concerns, is keen to push the talks beyond a discussion of the divorce to try to offer firms some certainty about future trading conditions.

EU negotiators say that while they see no big breakthrough at a summit next week, they may offer May a hand by offering some hope of a shift at the next scheduled meeting in mid-December.

Aides to May have signaled that the prime minister has accepted that her October deadline will not be met despite a speech in Italy last month which attempted to reset the tone of the difficult negotiations.

Her spokesman told reporters: “Let’s see what happens in the next round of talks”.



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