May seeks Macron’s help in bypassing Brussels

EPA-EFE/ANDREAS SCHAAD

British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) before a working meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (not pictured) within the Salzburg Festival 2018 in Salzburg, Austria, 27 July 2018.

May seeks Macron’s help in bypassing Brussels


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The UK wants to intensify Brexit negotiations according to Britain’s new Brexit Minister Dominic Raab following his first meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels and ahead of formal negotiations between Brussels and London that are set to resume on August 13.

Prior to those talks, British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at Fort Brégançon at the weekend, the 13th-century official holiday residence of the French president, to try to reinvigorate the stalled Brexit negotiations.

May is under pressure to get a deal done with as the deadline for a finalized agreement is rapidly approaching. In the event that the two sides are unable to reach a solution, the UK risks leaving the European Union without an exit plan. With the “no deal” scenario looking more and more likely as the days pass, May’s own ministers are becoming increasingly critical of her inability to avoid what may be a catastrophic economic development for the post-Brexit UK.

During a recent trip to Paris, Britain’s new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt once again warned against leaving the EU without a commercial agreement between the two sides, saying the cost of a failed divorce will weigh as much on Europe as on the United Kingdom and later added that “the risk of a stormy divorce” remains a real possibility.

May is now hoping to bypass Brussels’ negotiators and convince the individual heads-of-state from the EU’s 27 members of the importance of hammering out a compromise before the Salzburg European Summit in the autumn, which May hopes will keep the door for an orderly Brexit slightly open.

That hope, however, has gotten off to a rocky start as Macron has made it clear that he would do nothing to undermine the joint efforts of the EU. Macron has long dismissed attempts by British negotiators to divide and rule the EU-27, which he sees as an attempt to weaken the European Union’s negotiating stance.

France is known for taking a hard-line in the Brexit negotiations, especially on financial services, due to the fact that Paris expects to be the new home of the world’s leading banking institutions after they abandon London, the international financial capital, for a base that remains within the EU.

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