The European Council meeting will get underway in Brussels on Thursday afternoon with the remaining 27 members of the bloc hearing Prime Minister Theresa May’s reasons for asking for a delay in the UK’s departure.
After the “usual exchange” with President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the group will “turn to Prime Minister May who will share her assessment of the latest developments regarding Brexit.”
When May has left the room, the group will discuss the next steps concerning the UK’s departure; especially in terms of the length of the extension, should May succeed in getting her vote through parliament next week to approve the Withdrawal Agreement, or not.
No final decision is expected from the EU leaders before the UK parliament votes again on the Brexit deal.
In the evening, over dinner the 28 current EU leaders are expected to discuss a more defensive strategy for China, potentially signaling an end to the unfettered access Chinese business has enjoyed in Europe but which Beijing has failed to reciprocate.
European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen described the EU’s economy as “fully open,” while “China is not, and it raises lots of questions.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping starts a tour of France and Italy this week. He has forecast a ‘new era’ in relations with Italy, expecting to sign an agreement in Rome for China’s Belt and…