THE lunch Theresa May had with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission’s president, in Brussels on December 4th was billed as a make-or-break one. Britain’s prime minister had to concede enough ground over outstanding issues in the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, setting the terms of divorce from the European Union, to persuade Mr Juncker to recommend to EU leaders at next week’s summit that “sufficient progress” had been made to start a second phase of talks, on the future relationship. In the event, the lunch fell short of a deal, but both leaders are promising to reach agreement later in the week.
Mrs May’s manoeuvring has, however, kicked a new hornet’s nest at home. She had already upset hardline Brexiteers with concessions on the rights of EU citizens in Britain and by offering as much as £45bn-55bn ($60bn-75bn) to settle Britain’s exit bill, the two other parts of the divorce. But it was the third issue, avoiding a hard border between…Continue reading