The Press Room

What are people saying about Brexit? Here we collect news and commentary from the media, both in the UK and further afield.


23 October 2017

When the Brussels summit ended on Friday, the European Council published its conclusions on Brexit: essentially, that the Brexit talks cannot yet move to a second stage, that the Council and Michel Barnier’s team will however start “internal preparatory discussions” on their position in any second stage, and that the Council will reassess progress in December. As expected, the Council used wording designed to send positive signals – “building on this progress”, “consolidating the convergence achieved” – while making it clear that some significant steps are still be necessary before phase two can begin.

As the summit broke up, different European leaders gave different views on the state of the negotiations.

Brexiters trying to ‘bluff’ UK’s readiness for no-deal scenario, says Macron (The Guardian)
French president tells EU leaders’ summit that Theresa May has never raised cliff-edge Brexit as an option during any discussions

Theresa May hints at financial concessions after ‘line by line’ budget analysis (Politico)
EU leaders at the event say they require more clarity from the UK before moving onto trade

Theresa May backs down and offers billions more for Brussels: Brexit bill ‘could be £20bn’ more (Evening Standard)
In a choreographed finish to the EU summit, the other 27 leaders took less than two minutes to reach a decision  to start “preparations” for moving negotiations onto trade

Brexit ‘deadlock’ talk exaggerated, says EU’s Tusk (Financial Times)
Progress is being made towards a deal in December on divorce issues

EU leaders disagree on Brexit progress at summit (Deutsche Welle)
Theresa May has not left Brussels empty-handed, but at the end of a two-day EU summit, the bloc still lacks “all the details we need.”

Plenty of politicians in the UK – and elsewhere - have also expressed their views.

EU wants to ‘punish’ Britain for having ‘audacity’ to vote for Brexit, Liam Fox suggests (The Telegraph)
Liam Fox insisted that leaving without a deal will not be a “nightmare scenario”

Brexit: Emily Thornberry predicts no deal with the EU (BBC)
Shadow foreign secretary Ms Thornberry said the PM’s failure to control her party was causing “intransigence” on the UK side, which was a “serious threat to Britain” and its interests

Theresa May is told by Brussels she must ‘face down’ Boris Johnson if she wants to start trade negotiations with the EU before Christmas (Mail on Sunday)
Guy Verhofstadt said May should call bluff of ‘increasingly desperate Brexiteers’

Don’t panic, we can still walk away from a trade agreement, says former Brexit minister David Jones (Mail on Sunday)
Just one roar from the British lion, as Boris Johnson would put it, and Angela Merkel and Co have started to buckle

And of course the media have their own analyses of the situation.

May’s Brexit weakness focuses EU minds (Financial Times)
Bloc fears pushing too hard could topple British PM and leave Eurosceptic in charge

‘No deal’ on Brexit looms over a long eight weeks for Theresa May (Sky News)
An agreement can be reached with the other 27 EU member states, but selling it to her party and Cabinet will be another matter

Cold Christmas coming for May as Brexit and budget crises loom (The Observer)
The prime minister is entering a defining period in which she will have to defy enemies at home and abroad

Tory Brexiteers need Theresa May to stick around until the divorce bill is resolved – then they’ll waste no time replacing her (Independent)
The Brussels talks are complicated enough, but May has other Brexit problems. The Cabinet has not even discussed the long-term deal and is badly split

It’s the hand-to-hand combat this side of the Channel that’s stalling Brexit (The Sunday Times)
Far from uniting, the British side is more polarised than ever

Britain seeks friends at Europe’s top table (The Economist)
Europe’s leaders offer Theresa May qualified support, but tougher challenges lie ahead

Even if we quit the EU without a deal we will still need goodwill to avoid a major economic shock (The Telegraph)
Before a ship sets off on a difficult and dangerous voyage, it’s a good idea for everyone on board to agree on the destination

No deal with the EU? Sounds like a good deal to me (The Spectator)
So what if we have to trade under WTO rules?

Stick, Twist or Bust - what are May’s Brexit options now? (The Telegraph)
Here we look at Mrs May’s options ahead of the next EU leaders summit on December 12

5 reasons why no deal could mean no Brexit (Politico)
What happens politically if the British government fails to agree a Brexit deal with Brussels?

There is simply no such thing as a “no deal” Brexit (Prospect)
Hardline Brexiteers are either advocating a bluff that no-one on the EU side believes or demonstrating a failure to understand how EU treaties work

Claims of Brexit progress rather contentious (The Irish Times)
London focus on preparing for frictionless Border appears to be shelved

In other headlines –

Keir Starmer: Tory rebels and Labour will unite over Brexit deal veto (The Guardian)
Shadow Brexit secretary tables six demands to end parliamentary paralysis of EU withdrawal bill

Brexit Negotiations: Not without pain (Medium / FAZ)
This is an English translation of the original German piece by Thomas Gutschker, Political Editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

‘This is false’: Jean-Claude Juncker’s top aide denies leak about ‘tormented’ Theresa May (Politics Home)
Jean Claude Juncker’s top aide has rejected an accusation that he was responsible for revealing the highly personal details of a Brexit dinner last week

Major business groups warn Davis over ‘serious’ Brexit jobs risk (Sky News)
David Davis has been told the need for a transition deal is “urgent” in a letter from five big business groups seen by Sky News

Asset management task force discusses post-Brexit policy (Financial Times)
City minister Stephen Barclay meets industry leaders amid concerns over split from EU

Govt accused of ‘hiding bad news’ after Liam Fox again rejects Brexit impact studies call (Politics Home)
The International Trade Secretary said unveiling the secret advice laying out the expected effect of Brexit on jobs and living standards would “diminish our negotiating hand”

Leaving the EU without a trade deal could cost Britain £430bn over five years, warns Vince Cable (Mail on Sunday)
The Liberal Democrat leader added that even a soft Brexit could cost £235bn

Liam Fox seeks to narrow focus for post-Brexit US trade deal (Financial Times)
Trade minister seeks accord on services as problems loom on goods and agriculture

Factories cut investment amid rising Brexit fears (The Times)
Investment in plant and machinery has dropped to 6.5 per cent of turnover from 7.5 per cent last year, and few companies plan to upgrade their production capacity in the years ahead

May ‘delays Cabinet talks on trade deal until 2018 over resignation fears’ (Politics Home)
Theresa May is reportedly delaying a cabinet debate on a future EU-UK trade deal because she is worried it will spark resignations

UK plan to register EU citizens would be illegal, say MEPs (The Guardian)
Britain will have to register ‘everyone or no one’ in Brexit transition, says cross-party group after Amber Rudd outlines plans

UK will struggle to change UK borders in time, says watchdog (BBC)
The government will struggle to deliver the “huge changes” required to the UK’s borders in time for Brexit, Meg Hillier, the chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee said

French descend on London in bid to ‘seduce’ 250 British firms with post-Brexit future on continent (The Telegraph)
Hundreds of regional politicians and business leaders from the Hauts-de-France region entertained representatives from more than 250 businesses operating in the UK

Germany’s financial squeeze offers Brexit hope (Financial Times)
Its big current account surplus means Merkel will not want a cliff-edge British exit

Brexit: Expats given ‘no disruption’ pledge by Spanish government (BBC)
Britons living in Spain will not have their lives “disrupted” after Brexit - even if there is no UK-EU deal, the Spanish foreign minister says

How to Brexit successfully (Financial Times)
What the UK could have done to minimise the damage

UK infrastructure bank would face hurdles, say experts (Financial Times)
Britain is weighing a replacement body for the European Investment Bank after Brexit

David Davis set for Brexit talks in Paris (Politico)
Brexit secretary to have dinner with French foreign minister