British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker agreed over dinner in Brussels on Monday that the pace of negotiations over Britain's departure from the European Union should be stepped up. Saskia O'Donoghue reports
Agreeing to step up Brexit negotiations. British Prime Minister Theresa May met European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker late on Monday (October 16) for surprise talks over dinner. A short joint statement described the Brussels get-together as "constructive and friendly", saying the pair agreed Brexit efforts should "accelerate over the months to come". May's visit was announced less than 24 hours before they sat down. They were accompanied by their chief Brexit negotiators, David Davis and Michel Barnier. No information was given to press besides the six-sentence communique. The statement made no judgement over who was to blame for the deadlock in the talks. The EU blames May for failing to detail how much she is willing to pay to settle divorce obligations May blames the EU for refusing to talk about a future trade deal and transition until the money is settled. Some EU voices are not happy at the meeting - expressing concern that May is trying to divide the other 27 member states. Businesses in the UK are worried too. warning that without clarity on what happens after Brexit they may start switching investments early next year. Each side now hoping the other really is as committed to speeding up negotiations as they say there are - as the time ticks down to Britain's withdrawal from the EU in March 2019.