The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in London on December 13, 2017
European leaders meet on Thursday at a two-day summit devoted to launch the next phase of negotiation of Brexit after a first agreement on divorce, a success for the British president who arrives instead weak in Brussels.
The day before, the British government of Theresa May suffered a defeat when several of its deputies joined the opposition to impose that the British parliament has the last word on the final divorce agreement with the European Union (EU).
This defeat weakens May and puts an abrupt stop to a triumphant week that began Friday in Brussels when he managed to reach, against prognosis, an agreement with the EU that opens the door to discussing the future relationship and that his peers must confirm.
The leaders, meeting without their British counterparts, must confirm on Friday that there was „sufficient“ progress in the priorities of the divorce – front in the island of Ireland, rights of expatriate citizens and financial settlement – according to the draft conclusions consulted by the AFP .
This green light will open the door to discussing the future relationship, although the will of the 27 partners of May is to address an eventual free trade agreement from March and focus first, since January, on a transition period of two years after leaving the United Kingdom on March 29, 2019.
„I have no doubt that the real test of our unity will be the second phase of the Brexit negotiations,“ said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, upon his arrival at the summit in Brussels.
Although the head of the British government will not be present at that meeting, she will use her presence in the Belgian capital to underline that a „fair result“ was reached in the agreement closed last Friday at dawn, according to a British government source.
– Migration and the Eurozone –
The divorce with the United Kingdom, the first exit from a country in six decades of European project, represents the main crisis of an EU that will also reflect at the summit on the lessons of two other recent crises: migratory and economic.
Two years after the peak of the migration crisis, Europeans are still trying to agree on a lasting response to this phenomenon, „a long process that achieved with all results,“ according to a European source.
In his letter of invitation to the summit, Tusk urged the leaders to have an „open and frank“ conversation about the successes and mistakes of the EU in the face of the migration crisis, a thorny issue that caused a recent clash between Tusk and the European Commission. .
The president of the European Council, who coordinates the work of the leaders, underlined in a note the failure of the system of distribution of refugees on the basis of quotas, which earned him criticism from the European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, who accused him of “ undermine „the“ principle of solidarity „.
Tusk „is right,“ said a European diplomat, for whom the focus should be on border control, cooperation with Libya and a permanent fund to fight against illegal migration.
The future of the euro zone will be the center of the debates on Friday morning in a ’summit of the Euro‘, in which the leaders will pronounce on the reforms proposed by the Commission to strengthen the euro countries against future crises.