Brexit Briefing: Hostilities Resume as Juncker Hopes for a Miracle

May urges EU to respond in kind to new tone on Brexit talks

"The informal get-together in Tallinn, arranged before a "digital summit" on issues ranging from data and cybersecurity to taxing online businesses, has no set agenda, allowing May another chance to pitch her Brexit ideas".

Europe is facing growing threats of terrorism, cyber crime, migration and "Russian aggression", UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement ahead of the European Union summit on digital technologies due in Estonia on Friday.

The 4th round of European Union negotiations ended yesterday and whilst there has not been movement to warrant Michel Barnier's interpretation of "sufficient progress", the tone of the joint press conference between Barnier and Davis was the most conciliatory of the 5 or so joint appearances the two have made.

"We have had a constructive week, yes, but we are not yet there in terms of achieving sufficient progress".

The two leaders were in Estonia for a summit of European Union leaders in Tallinn where the future of the bloc without Britain was set to be the key topic on the agenda.

"A week ago I gave a speech in Florence which set out how we have made good progress so far; I thought we could make further progress and moving on to looking at the future deep and special relationship and partnership that we want to build with the European Union when the United Kingdom has left the EU", she told the Reuters news agency.

While she carefully avoided the apparent threat to withdraw co-operation in her letter triggering the start of the Article 50 talks on Britain's withdrawal, she nevertheless underlined the UK's contribution as one of the most capable military powers in the EU.

Britain had aimed to make a breakthrough at a summit in Brussels on October 19-20.




"At the end of this week, I am saying that there will be no sufficient progress from now until October unless miracles will happen", he said.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Ms May said: "From terrorism to cyber-crime, illegal migration to Russian aggression, the threats we face as Europeans are increasing in their scale and complexity".

Even so, both sides said some progress had been made.

"We will continue to work with our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, our European neighbours and the EU to support a future partnership of unprecedented breadth and depth, that will guarantee the security and stability of the continent for generations to come".

In a meeting with Mrs Merkel later that day, the leaders discussed the importance of settling the issue of citizens' rights "at the earliest opportunity".

Then Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Brussels on Monday and promptly declared that any bill would only be settled if a trade deal was also struck.

Barnier highlighted two key areas of disagreement.

"The only way to reach sufficient progress is that all commitments undertaken at 28 [member states] are honored at 28", the former French government minister said.

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