BRUSSELS: EU President Donald Tusk held unannounced Brexit phone talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday as Brussels and London step up efforts to strike a divorce deal.
Talks have intensified as Britain seeks to reach an agreement within the coming weeks, to allow time for it to be passed by parliament before Brexit day on March 29, 2019.
Brussels officials have played down suggestions in the British media that a decisive breakthrough is imminent, while negotiators are locked in closed-door haggling this week.
As head of the European Council, it will be for Tusk to decide whether or not to call a much-anticipated emergency summit to seal a Brexit deal.
“Phone call with PM @theresa_may this morning to take stock of progress in #brexit talks and discuss way ahead,” Tusk tweeted on Wednesday.
Britain has indicated it is seeking a deal before the end of November, although one official admitted Tuesday that “it would be a stretch”.
The negotiations are stuck on the details of a “backstop” arrangement to avoid checks on goods crossing the Irish border until a new trade deal can be signed, though Dublin opened the door on Monday to a possible concession that could pave the way to a solution. —AFP