Forget about the Mending a date for Britain to leave the European Union.
The question the summit of Wednesday: What exactly was on Angela Merkel’s tabletcomputer?
The German chancellor shared a laugh together with British Prime Minister Theresa May over some puzzle image since the 28 EU leaders sat down to talks with Britain’s future in the balance.
The moment of levity was part of a tense, daylong diplomatic ballet which played Wednesday in the Quarter of Brussels, culminating at a closed-door dinner at which presidents and prime ministers will speak for hours until they disagree.
And then will they determine just how much longer Britain can remain in the EU.
It’s a unique sort of European dinner party: EU leaders (minus Britain’s Theresa May, because she isn’t encouraged ) each have their own turn to talk and talk and talk in between bites and sips till they attain a consensus about whether to give the U.K. an expansion to Brexit, and for a long time. The dinner that was is predicted to drag to the early hours of Thursday.
On the menu du jour: warm scallop salad followed by macadamia nut parfait for dessert.
As meetings, the menu carried undertones. Tension erupted within scallop-fishing rights, while cod has been a source of dispute this year between sailors
Hours the backdoor politicking, before the supper started: The Dutch prime minister and between EU leaders and also ally May played with. The German and French leaders had their huddle. A mini-club of North Sea states gathered elsewhere.
It’s the way the EU can come to the consensus, and frequently seems hard to outsiders — however, the EU has elevated it.
Everybody got their own interests to defend, but in the conclusion of the daythey must all agree on one response: The EU leaders will let her delay Brexit till June, or force her to postpone it longer — or tell her”good riddance” and let Britain risk tumbling out of their bloc this week without any future strategy.
The summit appeared to get off to a start. Three of those European leaders took their jackets off while they gathered around a round dining table.
Merkel then walked over in the ready her , to May. The 2 leaders intently looked at the display before sharing a laugh.
Questions erupted. So what did Europe’s strongest women on opposite faces of this protracted Brexit debate — find funny? The concept: It was something to do with their fitting coats, EU-blue that is identical.
May was already being treated like a bit of the EU outcast Before she came in Brussels. The official summit booklet with leaders’ photos relegated the head of the British authorities to the amount of”Guest.”
May took the ground, pleading with her peers for just over an hour before she was ejected so the EU members may debate whether the prime minister made a case.
Prior to the leaders eventually agreed to grant her a brief Brexit delay, two weeks before, May waited four hours.
A few of Wednesday’s summit drama began before European Council President Donald Tusk opened in the Europa building, an architectural gem appearing sitting in a glass box in the multicolored area.
Earlier in the day, Belgium hosted six different countries near the U.K. — Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Ireland and Denmark — at the neoclassical Egmont Palace across town, amid hills of Granite and marble chandeliers, to plot strategy.
However, not everyone liked this idea. Surveys quickly surfaced that the specific”mini-summit” has been a plot to set out rough conditions for Britain’s new extension and set another EU leaders prior to a fait-accompli. Quickly diplomats needed to play the meeting, saying it was just to”organize” programs in the event of a no-deal.
Sometimes it can get to be just too much, although it’s all in a day’s work for the EU.
In a 2016 summit when Britain was again the troublemaker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel walked out the building went to a French fry shack near by, to get a dose of this delight.