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Countdown to Brexit: The key milestones on the road to exit day (The Daily Mail)

Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street) meets EU leaders in Salzburg tomorrow in the first of a series of choreographed moments on the final road to Brexit

Salzburg Summit, September 19-20

In a crucial moment tomorrow, the Prime Minister will address EU leaders on her Chequers proposals for the first time.

She will set out why the proposals are the only ‘credible and negotiable’ plan that both honours the referendum vote and – in her view – works for the EU.

The response of EU leaders will be crucial. Most have been cool on the ideas so far but expectation is rising they could give EU Negotiator Michel Barnier new guidelines within which to strike a deal.

EU Council President Donald Tusk has said the meeting must reach a ‘common view’ on the shape of the future UK-EU relationship and agree the final phase of talks.

Failure would dramatically raise the chance of no deal.


Next round of negotiations, September 21 to mid-October

The following month of detailed talks will be among the most crucial so far.

If the Salzburg summit sees EU leaders agree a broad framework as planned, the UK and EU negotiators will have just weeks to frame a ‘political declaration’ on the future relationship and finalise the withdrawal treaty.

How far they get in drafting the documents – and how much is left to EU leaders themselves – will determine when, if at all, an agreement can be struck.

The political declaration will explain in non-legal language what the two sides plans to agree in the final treaty.

A political declaration was used in December 2017 to outline the proposed transition deal and the £39billion divorce bill agreed by the UK. This is what is currently being turned into legal language for the withdrawal treaty.


EU Summit, Brussels, October 18-19

October’s EU summit has long been pencilled in as the opportunity for EU leaders to agree the withdrawal treaty on the terms of exit and a political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU.

If a deal can be struck in October, it leaves plenty of time for it to be agreed in the UK and ratified in the EU, paving the way for an orderly Brexit in March.

A deal is not expected to be finalised at this summit but both sides will hope for significant progress – even if the summit is used to set out the dividing lines one last time.


Emergency EU Summit, Brussels, November 13

A one-day emergency summit in November is now widely expected. If it happens, there will be acute political pressure to finalise both the withdrawal treaty and political declaration – if nothing else to allow the EU to return to other business.

Expect a high stakes meeting and a late night finish. Failure will see both sides walking up to the brink of a chaotic exit and peering over the edge.


EU Summit, Brussels, December 13-14

Given the need to ratify the deal, the December summit is the last chance to strike a deal. Brexit is not supposed to be on the agenda: if the talks reach this summit there has been a major breakdown.

The EU does infamously find a way to agreement at the 11th hour and if Brexit talks are still live in December, many will hope for a fudge that can get both sides over the line.

Last year, talks on the outline divorce deal were pushed to December and a deal was – just – reached.


Continued on


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