Slow Brexit talks

It is more than unlikely that the EU's leaders will decide to negotiate future trade relations between the EU and the United Kingdom at the European Council on 19 October.

Currently, the Commission and the European Parliament do not see "sufficient progress" to undertake the second phase of negotiations. Divergences remain regarding the UK’s financial obligations to the EU and the rights of EU citizens in Great Britain.

It will be interesting to see whether the European Council will deliberate on Theresa May's proposal to agree on a temporary "transitional period" of about two years. The simplest way would be to do so by means of a unanimous decision by all Member States under Article 50 (3) TEU. In this case, the European Parliament will not be directly involved. The United Kingdom would then remain a full member of the EU for (say) two years - that is until 30 March 2021. It would have to co-finance the EU budget and would be involved in EU legislation as it has been in the past. It is however unlikely that the EU Council will reach such a decision at its October Summit as this would diminish pressure on London to accommodate to the EU’s demands regarding the UK’s financial obligations.