BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders will call on Britain to provide “realistic and workable proposals” on its future relationship with the EU and leave the door open for London to change its mind on some of its “red lines” in negotiations - draft summit conclusions showed.
Draft conclusions of a summit of the leaders of the 27 countries that will remain in the EU after Britain leaves in March 2019 expressed concern that no substantial progress had been made to find a way to avoid a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Without a deal on the border the EU cannot conclude a “divorce” treaty with Britain, raising the prospect that Britain would leave the bloc without a deal, which would hit business.
The leaders therefore called for “intensified efforts” to reach the withdrawal agreement and a deal on a transition period until the end of 2020 that is to give companies time to adjust to the new situation.
The leaders also say in the draft that more effort needs to be made to agree on a future relationship between Britain and the EU after the transition period ends.
“This requires further clarity as well as realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position on the future relationship,” the draft said.
The leaders also left the door open for Britain to change its mind on certain “red lines” in negotiations, like London’s position to leave the EU’s customs union.
“The European Council recalls that if the UK positions were to evolve, the Union will be prepared to reconsider its offer,” the draft said, referring to the EU position based on Britain’s negotiating stance.
Reporting By Gabriela Baczynska, writing by Jan Strupczewski