Theresa May and President Juncker have dinner, agree to ‘accelerate’ negotiations

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes Head of the European Commission, President Jean-Claude Juncker to Downing Street in London, Britain April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

In a hastily arranged dinner in Brussels, the prime minister and President Juncker agreed that Brexit negotiations must “accelerate” in the months ahead.

A joint statement released following the dinner said that the that the meeting was “constructive and friendly” and that the prime minister and President Juncker “reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come.”

While this is a positive development for Downing Street, the government will be disappointed by the fact that the European Council summit later this week will decide not to give the green light for trade talks.

The new draft summit communique toughened its language on Brexit, demanding that the European Court of Justice have a role in overseeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK – something the prime minister has fiercely opposed. It also stated that negotiations can move on to trade talks only once “each of the three issues” – Northern Ireland, citizens rights and the financial settlement – have seen progress.

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