The European Union Commission said that Brexit talks should move on to trade talks as “sufficient progress” had been made on the first stage covering divorce issues, following talks between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
“The European Commission has today recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to conclude that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom,” the commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said in a statement.
Earlier, the EU President Donald Tusk had triggered fevered speculation on Thursday about a deal when he announced that he would make a press statement on the Brexit talks early on Friday.
The frenetic talks come ahead of a Sunday deadline for Britain to finalise its divorce terms from the European Union so they can be approved by member states in time for an EU leaders’ summit on December 14-15.
If so, the EU would then open long-anticipated talks on a future trade deal and a transition period with Britain.
Talks between May and Juncker in Brussels on Monday broke up without a deal after the pro-British DUP party in Northern Ireland that props up the British leader’s government objected to a clause in the draft agreement about future arrangements for the Irish border.
(With inputs from Agencies)