French President Emmanuel Macron will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a working dinner Sunday, just days before an EU summit seen as the last chance for reaching a deal on Britain’s looming exit from the bloc.
The two leaders will meet to prepare a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a traditional gathering between their governments that will take place this year in the southwest French city of Toulouse.
The next day EU leaders will gather in Brussels for what is billed as a pivotal meeting for hammering out the divorce terms for Brexit, set for the end of this month.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that a deal on Britain’s withdrawal was “very difficult but possible” to achieve before next week’s summit.
“I think a deal is possible and very difficult but possible,” Barnier told Sky News television, confirming that he will meet his UK counterpart Stephen Barclay on Thursday.
“The EU will remain calm, vigilant, respectful and constructive,” Barnier said.
But talks between London and the EU have stuttered this week, despite fears of deep economic pain for Britain as well as many firms on the Continent if no divorce deal is reached.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to leave no matter what on October 31.
He has outlined a new way to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland after Brexit.
European officials have warned that the latest Brexit proposal cannot serve as a basis for a breakthrough before next week’s summit.