EU members give go-ahead for more intense Brexit talks

BRUSSELS: EU member states on Friday gave Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier the go-ahead for more intense talks with Britain, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Barnier’s meeting with ambassadors was still going on, but officials with knowledge of the talks said that the 27 other EU countries had responded positively.

“Yes, confirmed,” one told AFP.

“Green light to enter into intense negotiations with UK,” another texted.

EU spokespeople declined to comment.

Barnier’s team has been in “technical talks” with British officials for some time, but these were not making enough progress towards a treaty text that could forestall a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit in three weeks.

Barnier on Friday met his British opposite number, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay, for talks that both sides described as “constructive” — without giving details.

Following the breakfast meeting, Barnier began a briefing with ambassadors from the other 27 EU capitals, seeking their input on entering political negotiations on a text.

It is still far from clear whether the talks will produce a workable draft text before the key European Union summit starting on October 17.