LONDON: Brexit divorce talks in Brussels are making such slow progress that three European Union (EU) nations predicted the negotiations could spill beyond this week’s crucial Brexit summit.
Belying the need for speed across the Channel, Britain trotted out a horse-drawn carriage and a diamond-encrusted crown, so the queen could read out the government’s post-Brexit plans to Parliament.
In terms of historical importance, the painstaking paragraph-by-paragraph talks at the EU’s glass-and-steel Berlaymont headquarters seriously outweighed the regal ritual in which an ermine-draped monarch delivered a speech on the priorities of a Conservative Party government that could be out of office within weeks.
Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on October 31, and an EU summit on Thursday or Friday was long considered one of the last possible chances to approve a divorce agreement to accommodate that timeframe.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the country will leave at the end of the month with or without a deal, something the queen reiterated Monday.
“My government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on the 31st of October,” the 93-year-old queen said in a speech to parliament that was written for her by the government.
It remains to be seen whether Johnson will achieve that goal. Ireland, Finland and Spain all said the Brexit negotiations could well go beyond this week and go right down to the wire at the end of the month. AP