British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will join a video-conference with EU leaders on Monday, keen to make headway in negotiations on a future EU-UK relationship, but officials in Brussels expect no breakthrough in the Brexit deadlock.
Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported that Johnson would use the meeting to “bang the table”, pressing the 27-nation European Union to aim for an agreement by the end of the summer and not to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to drag its feet.
However, officials in Brussels said the afternoon discussion with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the heads of the European Council and European Parliament was a long-scheduled stock-taking exercise, not a negotiation.
“No one expects any breakthrough unless Boris Johnson decides to surprise us,” said one senior official. “This meeting was scheduled in the withdrawal agreement, so it is happening but no one expects much.”
Britain left the EU in January and its relationship with the bloc is now governed by a transition arrangement that keeps previous rules in place while the two sides negotiate new terms.